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Applegate Trail


Applegate Trail

Main route of Oregon Trail (green line) and California Trail (thick red line), including Applegate Trail (northernmost thinner red line)

The Applegate Trail was a wilderness trail through today's U.S. states of Idaho, Nevada, California, and Oregon, and was originally intended as a less dangerous route to the Oregon Territory.


  • Background 1
  • Route 2
  • Subsequent history 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In 1843, part of the Applegate family of Missouri headed west along the Oregon Trail to the Oregon Country.[1] Charles, Jesse, and Lindsay led their families along the trail and lost two children on the journey down the Columbia River.[1] The hardships along the way influenced the family to find an easier and safer way to the Willamette Valley.[1]

In 1846, the Oregon Provisional Legislature allowed the Applegates and others to attempt to find a more southerly route to Oregon.[2] The group began the task on June 25, 1846, with Jesse Applegate, Lindsay Applegate, David Goff, John Owen, B. F. Burch, W. Sportsman, Robert Smith, a Mr. Goodhue, J. Jones, B. Ausbuan, and Levi Scott starting the survey.[1][2] Leaving La Creole, the party spent three and a half months surveying a route to Fort Hall in present day Idaho.[3] At that location the Applegate Trail departed the main branch of the Oregon Trail.[3] On the return trip, the group brought approximately 150 immigrants along this southern route, also known as the South Road, South Emigrant Trail or the Scott-Applegate Trail.[3]


From Fort Hall, the route headed south following the Humboldt River before passing through the Black Rock Desert in present-day Nevada.[4] The trail then entered northern California and passed Goose and Tule lakes.[1] After crossing the Lost River, the route then crossed the Klamath Basin and the Cascade Range into Southern Oregon.[3] The trail then followed Keene Creek to the Siskiyou Mountains where it followed the south branch of the Rogue River.[3] Heading northerly, the route followed the Umpqua River before crossing the Calapooya Mountains into the southern Willamette Valley.[3]

Subsequent history

The trail continued to be used and improved over the next few decades after the initial party traveled the trail.[3] In 1848, when news of the California Gold Rush reached the Willamette Valley, many settlers left Oregon for the gold fields using the trail to reach northern California.[1] This included Jesse and Lindsay Applegate.[1] On August 3, 1992, the Applegate Trail became a National Historic Trail as part of the California National Historic Trail.[5] The Nevada section of the trail is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Applegate-Lassen Trail.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Most, Stephen. The Oregon History Project: Subtopic : Inhabiting the Land: The Applegate Trail. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved on June 8, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Brown, J. Henry (1892). Brown's Political History of Oregon: Provisional Government. Wiley B. Allen. p. 292. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Portland: Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 218–19.
  4. ^ "Notable Oregonians: Jesse Applegate - Pioneer". Oregon Blue Book. Oregon State Archives. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  5. ^ California National Historic Trail. National Park Service. Retrieved on June 8, 2008.
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  

External links

  • History of the Applegate Trail
  • Applegate-Lassen Route at California - Nevada Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA)
  • Deaths and Graves On The Applegate-Lassen Trail Archive copy at the Wayback Machine at California - Nevada Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA)
  • LaLande, Jeff. "Applegate Trail".  
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