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About - Oregon Trail Ruts

Description:

Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site (OTRSHS) is a State of Wyoming managed historic site that provides the opportunity to see and experience some of the best evidence of the great western overland migration in the west, the trail ruts. The trail ruts are easily found by following a short walkway from the site’s parking area. An informational kiosk and other interpretive information displays are found along the short walkway that leads to the impressive trail rut areas. The site has a public restroom and a small group picnic shelter. OTRSHS is located approximately one mile south of the town of Guernsey, WY. Guernsey State Park, located two miles north of the site, provides local oversight and management of OTRSHS.


History:

During the mid-1800’s, more than 500,000 pioneers journeyed west. Early pioneers, driven by a quest for fertile farmland, riches, or religious freedom ventured by wagon and on foot across overland trails to settle the American West. The cross-country journey took 4- 6 months to complete and was filled with hardship and danger. Emigrants following the California Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the Mormon Trail all passed from the plains of the east and into the rugged terrain of Wyoming and the area that is now Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site.

The cumulative impact of the thousands of early pioneers following along the California Trail (1841 - 1868), the Oregon Trail (1843 - 1868), and the Mormon Trail (1846 - 1868) is clearly evident at OTRSHS as the site has some of the best-preserved ruts along the western trails. Trail ruts, more than five feet deep, created by the wear of the countless wagons that struggled through this rocky landscape are preserved in the soft sandstone of OTRSHS. With the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 the western migration by wagon trains faded. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975 and today is managed by Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites & Trails.

 
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Site Status

 

Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

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Hours

 

Open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

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