Oregon Trail Ruts (Guernsey, Wyoming)

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Oregon Trail Ruts
Guernsey (Wyoming) - Oregon Trail Ruts 16-9-2014 11-06-06.JPG
Typical segment of the ruts
Oregon Trail Ruts (Guernsey, Wyoming) is located in Wyoming
Oregon Trail Ruts (Guernsey, Wyoming)
Oregon Trail Ruts (Guernsey, Wyoming) is located in the US
Oregon Trail Ruts (Guernsey, Wyoming)
Nearest city Guernsey, Wyoming
Coordinates 42°15′22″N 104°44′58″W / 42.25611°N 104.74944°W / 42.25611; -104.74944Coordinates: 42°15′22″N 104°44′58″W / 42.25611°N 104.74944°W / 42.25611; -104.74944
Built 1841
NRHP Reference # 66000761
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL May 23, 1966[2]

Oregon Trail Ruts is a preserved site of wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail on the North Platte River, about .5 miles south of Guernsey, Wyoming. The Oregon Trail here was winding up towards South Pass. Wagon wheels, draft animals, and people wore down the trail about two to six feet into a sandstone ridge here, during its heavy usage from 1841-1869.[3] The half-mile stretch is "unsurpassed" and is the best-preserved set of Oregon Trail ruts anywhere along its former length.[3]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.[2][3]

The site is maintained as a State Historic Site within Guernsey State Park, which separately was declared a National Historic Landmark for its Civilian Conservation Corps structures, unrelated to the Oregon Trail Ruts.


First recorded in 1812, when Robert Stuart and 6 others came through here heading east from Fort Astoria, Oregon. Traders, trappers, and missionaries; used this route before 1841 when Bartleson-Bidwell part became the first wagon train across the trail. The number of emigrants grew from 100 plus in 1842 to over 900, in 1843.[4] With the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1869, use of the Trail as an overland route to the Pacific rapidly declined, although sections of it continued to be used locally for many years.[4]


The trail ruts are 0.5 miles (0.80 km) long and are worn 2 to 6 feet (0.61 to 1.83 m) into a sandstone ridge. The route was chosen to avoid the marshy ground along the river. Located on the south side of the North Platte River 0.5 miles (0.80 km) south of the town of Guernsey.[4]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Oregon Trail Ruts". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  3. ^ a b c Stephen Lissandrello (May 15, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Oregon Trail Ruts" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 5 photos, undated and from 1975 (32 KB)
  4. ^ a b c Oregon Trail Ruts; National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form; Stephen Lissandrello, Historian, Landmarks Revies Project (Historic Sites Survey, NPS); NPS, Washington, D.C.; November 24, 1978

External links[edit]

Media related to Oregon Trail Ruts (Guernsey, Wyoming) at Wikimedia Commons