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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

National Historic Oregon
Trail Interpretive Center

Historic Wagon Ruts

In 1843 emigrants sent a wagon and team ahead to break down the sagebrush on Virtue Flat. Over time the dusty earth on the flat gained the distinct imprint of several sets of parallel ruts—the traces of thousands of wagon wheels and animal hooves carrying the goods of the pioneers to the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Trail ruts resemble a swale of slightly packed earth, rather than the more familiar set of parallel tracks typically made by automobiles.

There are approximately 13 miles of Oregon Trail wagon ruts along Virtue Flat that are visible from Flagstaff Hill. One mile of well-preserved ruts lie on the Interpretive Center grounds, and are accessible by the trails or from a turnout on Highway 86 about a half-mile west of the Center's entrance.

Encampment Image 2
Encampment Image 3