Famous & Infamous Sites of
the Barlow Trail Tour
The Autumn of 2003 marked the
158th Anniversary of the first toll road over the Cascade Mountain Range. Known
as the Barlow Trail, this was the final overland link of the Oregon Trail that
allowed emigrant travelers a cheaper but far more dangerous alternative to
rafting their covered wagons down the Columbia River.
This is one reason why exploring these famous and infamous sites is so
In 1845, the wagon parties of Samuel Kimbrough Barlow, Joel
Palmer, and William Rector joined together and attempted to make the first
crossing of the 11,235-foot Mount Hood by widening an Ancient Indian path. From
mid-September through December, they battled their way through the thick timber
of the Mountain's southern flank, and failed. They had to cache their
"Prairie Schooners" and most of their possessions in a crudely-made
log cabin, which they called "Fort Deposit", and hiked out. The last
person in the party did not reach didn't Oregon City until Christmas Day.
That Winter, Barlow received a charter from the
Provisional Government of Oregon, in addition to $4,500, to establish a toll
road over the Cascade Mountain Range. Traveling along this toll road required,
amongst other things, lowering the wagons down the steep cliffs of Big Laurel
Hill with ropes. Today, with the expertise of an interpreter with the Cascade
Geographic Society, everyone can experience this unique and colorful history by
visiting emigrant campsites, graves, tollgates, wagon ruts and swales, and even
the infamous Big Laurel Hill, the worst section of the 2,000-plus mile Oregon
Trail. Or, study Old-Growth Forests, wetlands, Wild Rivers, Salmon and wildlife
habitats, ethnobotany, environmental issues, and more, all located alongside
this historic trail.
A carpool tour of this area is normally offered as during the
Hood Huckleberry Festival, it explores sections of Mount Hoods Barlow
Trail, a Native American path that became the first toll road over the Cascade
Mountain Range. Participants visit pioneer graves, campsites, tollgates,
and view remnants of this historic Wilderness path, including ruts and
swells of the long gone Prairie Schooners.
However please feel free to contact us regarding walking tours
which are available for educational study.
You may experience this unique and colorful history of Mount Hood's infamous
Oregon Trail in a personal way. Just give us a call at (503)
622-4798 for further information and details. Wešll work with you to develop
just the right field studies experience for you and your class.