The term "Oregon Trail" was a matter of convenience. Technically there were three trails, more generally referred to as the "Emigrant Trail": - Oregon Trail (to Oregon's Willamette Valley) - California Trail and Mormon Trail (to Salt Lake City, Utah,) In Nebraska Territory, around Sweetwater Crossing, the three trails share the same route. The entire journey was around 2000 miles, taking about 4-6 months. (photo: Circled wagon train near Devil's Gate)
On August 14, 1848, Congress created the Oregon Territory, an area encompassing present-day Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and parts of western Montana and Wyoming. Peter Burnett, a Missouri lawyer who joined an expedition to the Oregon Territory in 1843, hoped to make enough money there to repay his accumulated debt.