Blue Mountain Crossing, Oregon

Forest Route with Deep Swales

The heavily-forested Blue Mountains were one of the last obstacles emigrants had to cross during their journey.


OCTA marker at Blue Mountain Crossing

Using donations given to the Maurice Burchfield Memorial Fund, the Northwest Chapter of OCTA marked the Blue Mountain Crossing of the Oregon Trail on National Trails Day, June 3, 1995. A permanent monument consisting of a bronze plaque mounted on granite rock was developed and installed thanks to the efforts of longtime personal friends of Maurice Burchfield, Dick Ackerman, and Lowell Tiller. “Burch” put in a lot of time locating and marking the trail remnants across the Blues. He was a loyal, dedicated OCTA member and a good friend to all who knew him.

Permission is required to visit the site: Pendleton Ranches, Inc., Cunningham Sheep Company, 303 SE Third St., Pendleton, OR 97801




Approximately 20 miles northwest of La Grande, Umatilla County, Oregon. SW1/4, Sec. 31, T1S, R36E. Eighteen miles north of La Grande, take the Mt. Emily Exit from I-84 (exit 243) and drive east about 1/4 mile to a small parking area on the south side of the road. The monument is at the back or south edge of the parking area, adjacent to one of two swales of the trail coming from the south.

Public Access

Oregon Trail swales at the Blue Mountain Crossing Interpretive Center

The US Forest Service established the Blue Mountain Crossing Interpretive Center for public access. Oregon Trail and stagecoach swales can be seen along interpreted hiking trails. Picnic areas, a covered wagon, scenic views and wildlife are features not to be missed.

Take exit 248 from I-84 onto U.S. 30. Cross to the west side of the interstate and turn right on Forest Road 1843 for 3 miles. Direction signs lead to the area.