Thirteen ways to think about the Oregon Trail Ruts

Quiz Yourself

Here are some questions to ask before you visit the Oregon Trail Ruts, while you’re there, and again after you return:

  1. How long do you think it took the wagons to wear these ruts into the rock?
  2. What kind of rock is it? Is it hard or soft compared to other kinds?
  3. What was life like for the travelers who camped here with their wagon trains?
  4. Where did the pioneers get water?
  5. What did they use for fuel?
  6. What did the pioneers eat, mostly?
  7. Did the pioneers sleep in the wagons?
  8. How do you think Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux Indians felt when they saw wagon trains traveling past here?
  9. What kind of animals pulled the wagons?
  10.  Was this a steep hill for the animals? How did the pioneers get the animals to pull the wagons up the steepest hills? How did they get the wagons down the steepest hills?
  11. How did the pioneers take care of the animals?
  12. What did the animals eat? Did the animals change the country they were crossing? How?
  13. What was the Oregon Trail? The California Trail? The Mormon Trail? What do these ruts show about the people that crossed the trails?

THANKS to the fourth graders of Oregon Trail Elementary School, Casper, Wyo. for many of these questions.

THERE ARE MANY MORE good questions a person could ask about the Oregon Trail Ruts, the trail itself, the people who used it and the people who lived here already.

SEND US three interesting Oregon Trail Ruts questions of your own. Be sure to identify your school and classroom teacher or note if you are home schooled when you send in questions. Contact for information on a 2014-2015 contest for submitting the most questions.