Thursday, February 25, 2010

RT66 + the Oregon Trail vs. Lewis & Clark Trail ?

Hi Jamie,

I would like to do a round trip: Route 66 one way and either the Oregon Trail or the Lewis and Clark Trail back.

Could you help me choose between these two?




Hi Bob --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA.

I have a semi-easy answer to your query -- take RT66 one way, then a combination of the Oregon Trail / Lewis & Clark route on the return. And in between, spend some time along the gorgeous shores of California and Oregon. Near the West Coast, Lewis & Clark followed (or is it blazed..?) what became the Oregon Trail, from the Pacific Ocean inland along the Columbia River via the lovely Columbia Gorge, which if you stay off I-84 is one of the world's great scenic drives. (In fact, the well-preserved and much-loved Columbia River Scenic Highway here is one of the first purpose-built scenic roads anywhere.)

It gets more complicated further east, alas. If you have the time, I strongly suggest following the Lewis & Clark path up into western Montana - the Bitteroot Mountains and Bitteroot Valley, around their "Traveler's Rest" camp is gorgeous. On the other hand, across the Great Plains the Oregon Trail route is quicker and a bit more interesting, especially the very historic stretch along the Platte River.

Both routes are fascinating -- so please let me know which way you end up going, and what you find out there.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen



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