The Barlow Road allowed thousands of Oregon Trail emigrants to travel overland to the Willamette Valley rather than risk floating the dangerous Columbia River. Travelers crossed through Summit Meadow and what is now the village of Government Camp, proceeding west toward the infamous Laurel Hill.
Nearing the end of the 2,000 miles journey west, many pioneers traveling the Barlow Road went down the Laurel Hill Chute on their way to make land claims in Oregon City. The last tollgate operated on the Barlow Road from 1879-1919.
An Oregon Trail Kiosk located in Government Camp across from the museum provides interpretive information as well as picnic tables that provide a resting spot for modern day travelers.
Visit Pioneer Trails at these nearby locations:
Barlow Road Tollgate – located off Highway 26 between mile markers 45 and 46 (west of Government Camp). A replica of the original gate stands between two maple trees planted by Daniel Parker, gatekeeper from 1883-1902.
Laurel Hill Chute – located on Highway 26 between mile markers 50 and 51 (west of Government Camp with access for eastbound traffic only). Visitors can walk a short trail to view the drop the pioneers faced – imagine lowering your belongings down these slopes.
A short section of the Barlow Trail can be hiked or biked from the east end of Government Camp to Still Creek Campground and on to Summit Meadow which served as pioneer resting spot with a tollgate. A pioneer cemetery is located at Summit Meadow. (See the Barlow Trail description under Hiking and Biking Trails.)
Further east of Government Camp, view the Pioneer Woman’s Grave and ruts of the Barlow Road. Take Highway 26 to Junction 35 and follow Highway 35 a short distance to Road 3531. Turn right and continue to the Pioneer Woman’s Grave. Follow Road 3531 to the top of Barlow Pass where another section of the Barlow Road (best driven by high clearance vehicles) continues on to White River Crossing.
A CD driving tour of the Barlow Road as well as additional information is available at the Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum as well as the Mt Hood Visitor Center in Welches.