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Activities
  1. Find It
    This map will help you learn more about the routes that settlers used when moving west. Click on the Oregon Trail in the Key. What mountain range does this trail cross? In which city does the Oregon Trail end?
  2. Find It
    Click on the Old Spanish Trail in the Key. What river does the Old Spanish Trail cross?
  3. Write About It
    Which two trails did settlers take to travel from Independence to Los Angeles? About how many miles was this trip? Use the scale to help you estimate the number of miles. Then write a journal entry describing what it might have been like to travel this route in 1840. Use other resources if you need more information.
Learn More About It

During the 1800s, thousands of settlers traveled west in search of new land and opportunities. Many families traveled in wagons. They followed overland trails across the continent. These trails were often dangerous and difficult to travel on. This map shows four of the major trails that people followed during this time. Each trail led settlers to a different part of the West. The Oregon Trail led people to rich land in Oregon. People traveled to California on the California Trail and the Old Spanish Trail after gold was discovered there. The Santa Fe Trail connected Missouri to New Mexico. Mexicans and Americans used this trail to trade goods.
Check Your Answers
  1. The Oregon Trail crossed the Rocky Mountains and ended in Portland, Oregon.
  2. The Old Spanish Trail crosses the Colorado River.
  3. Setters needed to take the Santa Fe and Old Spanish trails. This trip was about 1,600 miles. Your journal entry might tell about the difficulties of traveling west in a covered wagon and the kinds of land you might have seen.