Native Americans and Fur Trappers
Although wagons of the Oregon Trail did not pass over the rough lava rock
of this canyon, the area was an important route for Bannock and Shoshone
hunting parties for centuries. Fur trappers used the route extensively in the
1830's, headed for Fort Hall on the Snake River. Mountain sheep and buffalo
were important big game. Beaver, whose fur was used for men's hats,
were plentiful in the upper Portneuf River. The name Portneuf is from a
French member of Donald McKenzie's exploration party of 1818.