Oregon Trail in Oregon Clickable Map

Keeney PassKeeney Pass

This Jim Tompkins photo shows one of the still visible swales, marked by a BLM carsonite post. A BLM kiosk has several good interpretive panels, and a short hike to the top of a hill lets us look back upon a days travel, about 15 miles. 15 hot and dusty miles.

"... Since crossing to this side of the Snake river again the road has been fearfully dusty. In fact, a person who has never traveled these wormwood barrens can form no idea as to what depth dust may be cut up in them by the passing of a few wagons. To a person walking in the road it is frequently more than shoe deep, and if the wind happens to blow lengthwise of the road, it raises such a fog that you cannot see the next wagon in front." (James Fields, 1845) 

Keeney Pass; looking back This dry and dusty route spelled death for one John D. Henderson, 1n 1852. The legend is that he died of thirst a few yards from water, but for the real story go to our Trail Graves page. Keeney Pass is named for Jonathan Keeney,  who established a trading post on the  nearby Malheur River in 1863 . Lytle Boulevard is likely named for 1860 pioneer Andrew Lytle, who settled in Prineville. If anyone can shed more light on this name please contact the webmaster:  tomlaidlaw@comcast.net                              

Keeney Pass
OAG = DeLorme's Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer
= Franzwa's Maps of the Oregon Trail
= Franzwa's Oregon Trail Revisited

Continuing toward the town of Vale, you will pass a sign at Sand Hollow Rd., which will lead you to John D. Henderson's grave.

I have named the next stop Malheur River (click the red dot or the name) rather than Vale, because it is more in keeping with names the emigrants used. The river, with its hot springs, made an ideal camping spot. The town of Vale has beautiful murals depicting area history on many of its buildings .

You are at Keeney Pass
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contents copyright © 2007, Tom Laidlaw, and respective photographers
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