Register Cliff photo
Recommended Books about the
Oregon Trail
Guidebooks are of great value to any serious traveler.  Information is available on the Internet, of course, but having a guide handy during a period of extended travel is a significent help in getting the most out of a trip.  On this page we have selected what we consider to be informative books about the Oregon Trail.  Unfortunately, several are out of print and used copies only are available for sale.  In addition, it appears that some sellers are seeking extraordinary profits when only a few copies are available.  Still, paying $40 to $50 for several guide books is a small part of the overall cost of a major trip.  A good guide book will save time and allow you to enjoy sites you may well miss.  In our own case, finding out about the trail ruts through the golf course in Soda Springs, Idaho, was justification for the three guide books we purchased prior to departing on our own Oregon Trail adventure.
Lodge Cover 8
Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges, 8th ed.  by David and Kay Scott.   An in depth review of every national park lodging facility from Yellowstone icon Old Faithful Inn to Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Includes information about capacity, handicap access, activities, rates,  food service, and making reservations.  Advice on which rooms to request based on views, size, etc.  Also, considerations in choosing a place to stay when two or more lodges are in the same park.  A valuable resource for anyone considering a trip to a national park.    Order this book from Amazon
Oregon Trail Revisited - Franzwa book cover
Fanselow cover - Traveling the Oregon Trail

Traveling the Oregon Trail, 2nd ed.
  by Julie Fanselow.  A useful guide written for travelers who wish to follow the Oregon Trail from Independence to Oregon City.  Information about trail history, sites to visit, and nearby stops that are worthwhile to visit.  Although the book has a 2001 copyright and is out of print but things haven't changed a great deal on the trail during the last decade and a half.  A Kindle version is available.    Order this book from Amazon

The Oregon Trail  by Francis Parkman.    Written in 1847, this book chronicles the trip of an easterner as he travels west on the Oregon Trail.  Parkman does an excellent job of describing the people, the events, and the hardships of traveling west in the mid-1880s.  Considered a classic book about the Oregon Trail.   Order this book from Amazon 

Oregon Trail cover - Parkman
The Oregon Trail Revisited,  by Gregory Franzwa.    This is simply the very best book you can have at hand when traveling the Oregon Trail.  The author (now deceased) almost certainly knew the trail better than anyone and his experience in seeking out the route of the pioneers is unsurpassed.  One omission is the route from The Dalles to Oregon City via the Barlow Road, the path we took during our own trip.  Franzwa indicates every turn and crossing along the trail.  Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print Order this book from Amazon  

The St. Joe Road by Jacqueline Lewin and Marilyn Taylor.    An excellent guide if you will be beginning a trip west from St. Joseph, Missouri.  St. Joe was a major jumping-off point for the Oregon Trail beginning in 1850 following the discovery of gold in California.  This book follows the trail from St. Joseph to Marysville, Kansas, where it meets up with the trail from Independence.   Order this book from Amazon


Wagons West by Frank McLynn.  An historical recounting of pioneers on the Oregon and California Trails, along with the Mormon migration of the mid 1800s.    Relates the hardships of pioneers as they headed to Oregon and California in the wagon trains.   Order this book from Amazon