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map of the US with colorful dotted lines outlining trails to the west

Trails West Video

Resource Type
Grade Level:
Social Studies
Geography, Western Expansion, Westward Migration

Educational Video

The Trails West video will introduce students to several overland trails that people living in the United States traveled along in the mid-1800s while migrating across the country to the western regions of the United States. Students will learn the trail names, their locations, and the geographical features that the trails crossed by looking at artifacts and a map with a key. Students will also discover how and why people traveled to the American West in the mid-1800s as they explore each of these trails.


CA HSS 4.3.2
CA HSS 5.8.1
CA HSS 5.8.2
CA HSS 5.8.3
CA HSS 5.8.4

Teaching Tips for Different Learning Environments

Whole Class In-Person Learning:

A) After students complete and share the Trails West Map Analysis (See Video Resources.), show the students the Trails West video.
B) When prompted during the video, pause the video so that the students can discuss the answers to the questions in the video with a partner, in a group, or with the whole class.
C) When prompted during the video, pause the video so that students can write the answers to the questions in the video on the Trails West Video - Student Response Sheet (See Video Resources.).
D) Have the students complete and share Six Trails West (See Video Resources.) individually, with a partner, or in groups after watching the Trails West video.

Whole Class Distance Learning:

A) Follow the steps for Whole Class In-Person Learning above. The students can watch the video on their own time if that works better for you and your students.

Video Resources

Trails West Video - Student Response Sheet PDF in fullStudent Response Sheet PDF - FILLABLE
Video Pre-Lesson: Trails West Map Analysis
Video Post-Lesson: Six Trails West

Links to Associated Resources

Webinar: Trails West
Lesson: Westward Expansion Art Analysis
Lesson: California Gold Rush: A Significant Service


Trails West Video

Educational Programs at the Autry are sponsored by:

Dean and Laura Beresford · Molly and Neal Brockmeyer · Vince and Colleen Caballero · Capital Group · David F. Eisenberg · The Georgina-Fredrick Children's Foundation · Christy McAvoy · Marleen and Bruce Rognlien · Robert E. Ronus · Brenda and Gary Ruttenberg · The Steinmetz Foundation · Virginia F. Stevenson · Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation

Land Acknowledgment

The Autry Museum of American West acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We recognize that the Autry Museum and its campuses are located on the traditional lands of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

The Autry Museum in Griffith Park

4700 Western Heritage Way

Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
Located northeast of downtown, across from the Los Angeles Zoo.
Map and Directions

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