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)
Life and Death on the Trek--The Mormon pioneer trek was no walk in the park, but BYU research shows that more survived the hardship than you might think. Historian Melvin L. Bashore (MLS ’75) and statistics professor H. Dennis Tolley (BS ’70) teamed with eight students to crunch data on 56,000 pioneer records from 1847–1868. Numbers from their study paint the story of life and death on the trek:
Devil's Gate a gorge on the Sweetwater River a few miles southwest of Independence Rock. The site, significant in the history of western pioneers, was a major landmark on the Mormon Trail and the Oregon Trail.