“‘Platte River Road’ is an authentic historical term, used by many travelers. It is the most logical term to cover all continental trails up the Platte, from 1830, when Smith, Jackson, and Sublette took the first wagons up its length, to 1866, when the Union Pacific Railroad reached Fort Kearny.
In the popular mind ‘Oregon Trail’ is synonymous with covered wagons, but the historical Oregon Trail ran only from Independence to the Willamette valley, primarily for five years beginning in 1843. It scarcely seems appropriate to talk about California-bound gold seekers on the Oregon Trail. During the big Gold Rush it was called, logically enough, the California Trail, or the California Road . . . But California Road won’t do for those who went to Oregon, Colorado, Montana, or Utah.”