Adventures with Grandpa: Oregon Trail’s Keeney Pass

Drive four hours to go 20 miles? It is not unheard of on an adventure with Grandpa. In 2015, we made our way to Oregon and followed the Oregon Trail. We drove from Nampa, Idaho to Vale, Oregon, over the dusty roads of the old trails and ended the day at Farewell Bend near the Snake River. We Grandpa that if we had gone the “normal” way on I-84 we would have been to Farewell Bend in an hour. Forever after, a “Grandpa Road” in our family is one that will take you hours off the beaten-path.

Captain John Keeney Pass

On the outskirts of Vale, Oregon, we visited Keeney Pass, named for pioneer trader Jonathan Keeney. He came west in 1834 to trap furs with Jim Bridger and his company. In 1843, he led one of the first wagon trains across what would become the Oregon Trail. Keeney returned East in 1851 and brought a wagon train west with 300 head of cattle to the Williamette Valley.  In 1863, he established the first ferry near Fort Boise on the Snake River. Then he moved to the hot springs near Malheur River and built a small cabin which became the first building in Vale.

Published by Karen Painter

Karen Painter is a freelance real estate/health writer and historical romance author. She has written blogs, news,and feature articles for different publications over her twenty year writing career. Despite her struggles with anxiety and depression, she works hard to be positive and uplifting to others. She loves hiking, singing, and traveling.

4 thoughts on “Adventures with Grandpa: Oregon Trail’s Keeney Pass

  1. It is no fun going exploring the famous Oregon Trail when the heat is excessive. I am sure the boys learned about the hardships of the people who came west so many years ago.


    1. They hear it from me all the time! Most of my ancestors are Mormon Pioneers and they grumble when I say remember Anna Jewel Rowley or Lydia Knight or so many of the others. Their industry and faith helped make me who I am today.

      Liked by 1 person

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