Oregon Trail in Oregon Clickable Map

Malheur RiverMalheur river

Just out of Keeney Pass the emigrants camped at the Malheur River near present-day  Vale, OR. The name seems to mean evil hour (bad fortune). It was named by the Hudson's Bay Company's Peter Skene Ogden, who lost cached furs here in 1825. And it was unlucky for the people who followed Stephen H. L. Meek's unfortunate cut-off  in 1845.

"The Trail carried us over another sage plain 14 miles to Malure (sic) River a dirty deep stream running to the N.E. with a fine large dry vally covered in strong coarse grass and small willows     a hot spring comming out on E. Shore under a high cliff of volcanic rocks.." (James Clyman, 1844)

In 1853, some families took the Free Emigrant Route straight across to Eugene.
"...we came 12 miles over very dusty road to the Malheur River again crossing one valley with no water   camped beside the river   cooked and eat under the willows. It was a beautiful place to me at least   pack up and start today again like as many gypsies.   I feel very lost without the rest of the company.
[who took the old route]
" (Agnes Stewart Warner, 1853)

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

Follow Franzwa's directions North out of Vale toward Alkali Springs. In my opinion, this section of the trip should not be attempted on a solo journey. It is up and over Tub Hill on dirt roads. I traveled it last year and it wasn't too bad. It's 22 miles of rough road and should only be tackled when dry. There were plenty of BLM OT markers up there. And plenty of cows. It's okay to travel up there but the rule is to leave gates the way you find them.

If you go over to Farewell Bend by the highway you will have an opportunity to go a short way up the hill where you can look down across the ruts leading to the Snake River. There are good accommodations there and a great State Park.

You are at Malheur River; Vale, OR
West  <  Alkali Springs     Keeney Pass > East
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