Klamath Trail

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History[edit | edit source]

The Klamath Trail (named for its use by the Klamath Indians), was used as a trade route between the Klamath Lakes area and the Great Trade Center located at The Dalles and Celilo Falls region of the Columbia River. The Klamath Trail is also sometimes referred to as the "slave trail" because of its use by the Klamaths to transport slaves captured from northern California tribes who were taken to The Dalles and traded for horses and other goods.

A primary branch of the Klamath Trail over the Cascades was located in the region of the Santiam Pass and crossed into the slopes drained by the North Santiam River. Here the Indian trail system merged with the Molala Trail, a major north-south route that skirted the foothills of the eastern Willamette Valley from Oregon City to the distant region of the Southern Molala. From the North Santiam River, the Molala Trail went north through the Waldo Hills, on to the villages of the northern Molala, and then to the Willamette Falls trading mart.