The Race to Chimney Rock: Review

Go west, young pioneer—your journey begins here! In this first leg of your trek on the Oregon Trail, you need to find your way to Chimney Rock—but not without unpredictable challenges ahead.

The Race to Chimney Rock
(The Oregon Trail #1)
by Jesse Wiley
160 pages
Like It A lot

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot


Content Rating: Ages 7+.

Go west, young pioneer—your journey begins here! In this first leg of your trek on the Oregon Trail, you need to find your way to Chimney Rock—but not without unpredictable challenges ahead. This is the first installment of four books that will take you all the way to Oregon Territory—if you make the right choices.

In book one of this exciting choose-your-own-trail series, it’s 1850 and your first goal is to get your family, covered wagon full of supplies, and oxen to Chimney Rock on time. But hurry—you’ll need to make it through the rugged mountains before winter snow hits. Plus, there are wild animals, natural disasters, unpredictable weather, fast-flowing rivers, strangers, and sickness that will be sure to stand between you and your destination!

Which path will get you safely across the prairie? With twenty-two possible endings, choose wrong and you’ll never make it to Chimney Rock on time. Choose right and blaze a trail that gets you closer to Oregon City!

Goodreads /Storygraph / Amazon


Chose your own adventure or CYOA is a genre that I’ve liked since I was old enough to read chapter books. Add to that fond nostalgia of playing the Oregon Trail computer game in elementary school (okay I’ll admit I’ve played in once or twice as an adult too) and you have a promising combination.

For those who don’t know CYOA are typically middle-grade books that have multiple endings. You get to the ending through a series of choices throughout the book. As you are reading you’ll come across something like “If you go down the left fork of the path turn to page 122. If you choose the right fork turn to page 24.” You don’t read these books cover-to-cover, but rather through a winding path going backwards and forwards depending on where your choices lead you.

They are also written in second person to really put the reader into the story. You are on this adventure, not some made up character. Will YOU be able to make it to Oregon?

Many choices in The Race to Chimney Rock will be familiar to Oregon Trail players. For instance the choice to leave Independence in May or April, whether to stock up on food or extra wagon parts, choosing to ford the river or wait for a ferry.

It took me several tries to get through to Chimney Rock. My favorite part had to be the ending where the family stops along the trail and sets up a pie shop. Didn’t make it to Chimney Rock, but got a happy ending anyway.

There are illustrations through out. Not on every page, but often enough to keep the interest of a child making the switch to chapter books.

Parents will like the historical background in the book and the guide at the back.

Bottom Line:

A very good CYOA book about the Oregon Trail. There are more in the series and I intend to pick those up too and see if I can make it all the way from Independence Missouri to the fertile valley’s of Oregon. (Note: I am currently sitting and writing this review on my families farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, where many settlers landed after completing their trek on the Oregon Trail. My family ended up here during the dust bowl of the 1930’s.)

"Two days later, you find yourself drifting in and out of sleep. You're Sweating and sometimes, you feel like you're burning up, but other times you're freezing. You can't focus on much except for one thought: you should have waited for Ma to boil the water. You die of dysentery. THE END." The Race to Chimney Rock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *