National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier Idaho

TRAIL BASICS

Mules or Oxen

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Which would be best to pull your heavy wagons? Mules are strong, can go faster, but are often tricky to handle. Mules also had tendencies to bolt and become unruly. Oxen are slower, but more reliable and tougher than mules. They will eat poor grass. Oxen were very strong and could haul fully-loaded wagons up ravines or drag them out of mudholes. A large wagon needed at least three pairs of oxen to pull it.