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Westward Expansion for Kids

This section provides interactive tours of the four major emigrant trails associated with Westward Expansion. Click on an image below to start your tour!


Following the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812, America entered what was referred to as "the Era of Good Feeling," in which the young nation began to grow as an industrial power and to spread west. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, inspired by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, headed west for the opportunity to own land and to possibly strike it rich. These Americans often traveled grueling distances over unforgiving landscapes along any of several emigrant trails. Below are four of the most widely used trails. Click on a picture to take an interactive tour.


Chimney Rock
California Trail
Santa Fe Trail
Mormon Trail
Emigrant Trails