Robert Stuart Trail 1812 — 1813

Map of Robert Stuart Trail Map of Robert Stuart Trail
Map of Robert Stuart Trail

In 2007 I follow the trail of Robert Stuart, who was like Hunt sent out by John Jacob Astor to find a suitable trade route over the Rockies. The start was Astoria in nowadays Oregon.

But before the trail starts, I get my 88 Chevy S10 BDS Lift Kit installed. As this trail runs from west to east, I visit first my friends Matt & Jean in Detroit and Sherry and her family in Prairie Du Chien. Then I drive on the Interstates up to Richland in Washington. Originally, the Robert Stuart Trail starts in Astoria. But due to lack of time I have to skip the leg along the Columbia River. I followed this stretch already in my last years Wilson Price Hunt Trail to the west.

From Richland I drive on south to the mouth of the Walla Walla River. Crossing the hills south of the river I reach Pendleton and follow McKay Creek to Whitman National Forest. Like last year, Private Property forces me to take a detour south to the Blue Mountains until I reach at the Grande Ronde River the main trail again.

The last part of the mountain ridge to La Grande I have to cross on Interstate 84. From La Grande I travel via Union to North Powder and further on to Baker City. Along I–84 and a couple of small backroads I reach the Snake River and arrive at Ontario following Spur 95. Along the Snake I reach American Falls and the Portneuf River.

There I leave Hunt’s route from last year and follow Stuart’s trail along the Portneuf River to McCammon and the branch of Highway 30 to the east. Passing Lava Hot Springs, I arrive at Alexandra and further on to the southeast I reach Montpelier. This is the area of the ‘Big Hills’, where later the Oregon Trail will run through. If Stuart would have marched on to the southeast, he would have run straight into South Pass. But afraid of the Indians and not exactly knowing where he was, he decided to go up north, crossing Gannett Hills and Sheep Pass, reaching the valley of Grey River. He followed the river up north to the Snake River and along the Snake to Heise.

There he reached Hunt’s old trail over Teton Pass, which he followed. Along Hoback River and further on to the southeast, he reached South Pass via Pinedale. He crossed the Great Divide Basin to the east and reached through Muddy Gap the Sweetwater River. He followed the river to North Platte and searched for a winter quarter. Because of the Indians, he had to give up his first camp at North Platte and went on upstream to nowadays Torrington close to the state line of Nebraska.

In March 1813, the expedition started the last leg. They went along the North Platte River to the Missouri River and further on to St. Louis. There, Stuart changed from canoe to horse and rode along the Ohio River to Pittsburgh and further on to New York.

For the first time of my trails, the trail ends directly in Pittsburgh for me.

The first daily trails are online, the rest is in preparation