Wagon, Carriage & Oxen Rides

Location: northeast & Northwest of the Visitors' Center

Wagons and carriages were a common form of transportation in early America.  Most of the Latter-day Saints leaving Nauvoo in 1846 walked alongside their heavily-laden wagons. At the Nauvoo Historic Sites, visitors can take a short ride in each conveyance while learning more about the people and places associated with the area.

Image Gallery

Check out images of wagon, carriage & oxen rides as you scroll through our image gallery.

Wagon Ride
The 30-minute wagon ride provides an overview of the physical setting of Nauvoo, including shops and homes along Main Street, the adjoining Joseph Smith Historic Site, and the beginnings of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.
Wagon Ride
Guides on the wagon ride explain how Nauvoo was transformed from a swampy marshland to a thriving and industrious community.
Wagon Ride
Visitors board the wagon ride approximately every 40 minutes at this depot near the Family Living Center. The ride is free but tickets are required.
Carriage Ride
The horse-drawn carriage ride passes through the charming Illinois countryside to a view of the Mississippi River while a narrator relates stories from the journals of the men and women who lived in Nauvoo in the 1840s.
Sleigh Ride
Horse-drawn sleighs were commonly used in winter in Nauvoo and throughout the colder regions of the United States. In Historic Nauvoo, when winter conditions are just right, guests may be treated to a sleigh ride into the wooded area north of the historic district.
Oxen Ride
Oxen were very important in Nauvoo. They worked as a team, were stronger and had greater endurance, were easier to feed, and cost less than horses. Oxen were slow, but that was ideal for the westward migration, since the Latter-day Saints walked beside their wagons and did not ride inside. For the oxen wagon ride, however, only the teamster walks along the team.
Nauvoo Brass Band
Each summer, the music of volunteer performers recalls the musical traditions of early Nauvoo. Historically, William Pitt’s Brass Band often performed in Nauvoo. When the Saints were encamped at Richardson’s Point in March 1846, the Band played to lift the spirits of the cold and weary travelers. Residents in Keosauqua, Iowa, heard of the band’s quality and invited them to play. For several days, the band traveled 12 miles back and forth to perform, earning about $25 in total, money badly needed to buy food and supplies for the journey ahead.
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