Government Camp began in 1849 when the first U.S. regiment of Mounted Riflemen crossed the plains into Oregon country arriving at The Dalles. Most of the troops and their equipment were transported downriver to Vancouver, Washington by boat. Plans changed and some of the troops were ordered to proceed to Oregon City via the Oregon Trail.
Bogged down by mud and snow, with half of the livestock lost or dead and soldiers near total exhaustion, Lt. David Frost abandoned 45 Cavalry wagons in October 1849, before starting down Laurel Hill. Their noted presence beside the Barlow Road became the namesake of the alpine village – Government Camp.