Route of trail
The Meek Cutoff was a covered wagon road that branched off the Oregon Trail in northeastern Oregon. First used in 1845, it left the main trail at Vale, Oregon, and followed the Malheur River to head into the Harney Basin. It then turned west towards Wagontire Mountain, and north to the south fork of the Crooked River where it split into two routes. Each path led to the Deschutes River. The two routes reunited north of where the Crooked River empties into the Deschutes and then continued to The Dalles, Oregon.
The road is named for frontiersman Stephen Meek, who was hired to lead the first wagon train along it. The journey was a particularly hard one, and many of the pioneers lost their lives.
The Meek Cutoff is one of sixteen historic trails recognized by the State of Oregon. The blazing of the Meek Cutoff led to later wagon roads and the settlement of the eastern and central regions of Oregon.