Narrative History of Overlanders in the Columbia River Gorge, 1840-1870

For the National Park Service, HRA wrote Overlanders in the Columbia River Gorge, 1840–1870: A Narrative History. This history tells the story of the movement of people along Oregon Trail as they passed through the Columbia River Gorge. This roughly 200-page narrative history follows the geography of the Columbia River from upstream to downstream, describing hydrological hazards, water travel methods, land travel routes and methods, livestock trails, Indigenous settlements and businesses, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s role in overlander travel, calamities that befell overlanders, alternative routes, commercial transportation, and how all of this changed over the roughly thirty-year period of study. The final report includes historic sketches and images of the Columbia River, as well as original maps created by one of HRA’s GIS specialists.

HRA historians conducted primary research in numerous in-person and digital repositories for this report.

Link to full report: