Oregon Trail in Oregon Clickable Map

Burnt River CanyonBurnt River Canyon

This was one of the toughest  and most lamented stretches of entire Oregon Trail.  The following quotes are from the Weatherby Rest Area interpretive kiosk put up by the Oregon Trail Coordinating Council (OTCC), headed by Jim Renner.

"The river takes its name from the blackened and burnt appearance of the hills and mountains on either side of it, and the frequent burnings on them. They are mostly covered with dry bunch grass. this often gets on fire, burning for miles and days together. One of these burnings is insight of us today. It is on the opposite side of the river from us, or I should feel alarmed. "(Esther Belle McMillan Hanna, 1852)

Under a wonderful picture showing two men hanging on the side of a wagon:
"This day we traveled about twelve miles. The road exceeded in roughness that of yesterday. Sometimes it pursued its course along the bottom of the creek, at other times it wound its way along the sides of mountains, so sidelong as to require the weight of two or more men on the upper side of the wagons to preserve their equilibrium." (Joel Palmer, Sept. 7, 1845)

Burnt River Canyon Locator Map Burnt River Canyon
OAG = DeLorme's Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer
= Franzwa's Maps of the Oregon Trail
= Franzwa's Oregon Trail Revisited

     Here I'd like to thank Jim Renner of the Oregon Trail Coordinating Council for his encouragement and help in gathering quotes. I partook quite liberally of his generosity and am in his debt for many of the quotes on these pages. Most diary entries record the trek from Farewell Bend to Flagstaff Hill as taking 3-4 day and crossing Burnt River 8 or 9 times.
        The next stop, Pleasant Valley, was not necessarily remarked as such by the emigrants, but Jim Tompkins has sent a picture of an OCTA convention hike in 1993. His remarks suggest it was very dry.

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