Trail pioneers knew this spot well. It was one of the most famous river
crossings on the historic trail.
The Oregon Trail in Idaho
The trail played a significant role in the exploration and settlement of western America. The original course of the Oregon Trail was from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Most pioneers traveled the trail from 1841 through 1848. However, fur trappers and explorers used the travel corridor as early as 1811. By the mid-1860s, the trail was used little as an emigration route.
The Oregon Trail entered Idaho in the southeast corner of the state. At Fort Hall, it joined the Snake River, following the south bank until this crossing was reached near Glenns Ferry. The route left Idaho near the site of old Fort Boise, near Parma, after winding through 500 miles of the state.
A Risky River Crossing
Upon reaching the Three Island ford, the emigrants had a difficult decision to make. Should they risk the dangerous crossing of the Snake, or endure the dry, rocky route along the south bank of the river? About half of the emigrants chose to attempt the crossing by using the gravel bars that extended across the river. Not all were successful; many casualties are recounted in pioneer diaries. The rewards of a successful crossing were a shorter route, more potable water and better feed for the stock.
The Three Island ford was used by pioneer travelers until 1869, when Gus Glenn constructed a ferry about two miles upstream.
The Park Today
Oregon Trail History and Education Center
Modern travelers will find a stay at Three Island Crossing much more hospitable than did the pioneers. Located just off Interstate 84 at the Glenns Ferry exit, the park offers a full-service campground, picnic areas, historical interpretive programs and a fascinating interpretive center. Get your CIA exam review books you need here. You can take the self-guided tour, see the replica wagons and dangle your feet in the Snake River where emigrants made their historic crossings.
Three Island Crossing
looks remarkably the same today as when emigrants and Native Americans
encountered it over 150 years ago. To learn more about these two fascinating
cultures visit the new Oregon Trail History and Education Center in the
park. Take the self-guided tour and view the Snake River where emigrants
made their historic crossings. See wagon replicas, participate in
interactive exhibits and touch artifacts from the era.
Admission to the
center is $3 for adults and $1.50 for those under 12. Reduced rates are
available for student groups. The center is open 10 am to 4 pm weekdays and
10 am to 5 pm weekends.
You can RV, tent or rent at tepee
at Three Island Crossing. For
reservations call 208-366-2394.
Location: Glenns Ferry, ID (W Madison Street
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 609, Glenns Ferry, ID 83623
Cell Phone: 208-599-2100
Is there shade?
- Do we take reservations?