The American Solar Challenge Route

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Learn and Explore

This year is the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, the law that established the Oregon National Historic Trail. To celebrate the milestone, the National Park Service has partnered with the American Solar Challenge (ASC). The 2018 race route roughly follows the historic Oregon Trail. Compare the solar car race route to a map of the historic trail. Follow the race along the trail in person and enjoy special events at checkpoints and stage stops along the way. See the cars, meet the teams, and experience your national historic trail with park rangers. 


Compare the Oregon NHT and the ACS Route

map showing roughly parallel routes of American Solar Challenge and historic Oregon Trail
The corridor used by travelers on the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express trails has been called "the best natural road in the world." The historic Oregon Trail, however, is no longer a single continuously accessible road. The 2018 ASC follows a paved route from Omaha, Nebraska to Bend, Oregon.
Oregon Trail marker alongside dirt trail crossing open ground paved road passing between rocky bluffs
Oregon National Historic Trail over open land
Oregon National Historic Trail paved section near Gering, NE

A New Frontier for Innovation

Pioneers of the overland trails had to find ways to move thousands of pounds equipment and provisions, along with their entire families, over thousands of miles of unpaved land. The innovations that 19th century emigrants employed with their wagons and oxen to roll across prairies, rivers, and mountains in wheeled wagons to settle in the West laid the foundation for transportation and communication corridors we still use today. Today's paved roads make wheeled travel much easier, but the ASC teams need the same determination and innovative thinking to make the long journey powered only by the sun. In the process, they are also paving the way for new ideas and technologies related to our modern modes of transportation and perhaps even more!


Last updated: July 17, 2018

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National Trails Intermountain Region
Oregon National Historic Trail
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