The arboretum was established in 1993 by the City of Echo with grants from the Meyer Memorial Trust and Oregon State Urban Forestry Program. An Echo Elementary 5th grade class won a contest to name the arboretum with their submittal of the name: Oregon Trail Arboretum.
Anodized aluminum markers and interpretive panels were added in 1998 thanks to a grant from the Kinsman Foundation. Most of the established trees and shrubs have markers, but some of the newer trees do not. The markers provide information on the tree’s common name, botanical name, height and width, and other notes. The interpretive panels tell about the history of Echo’s trees and the city’s Urban Forestry Program.
The Red Horsechestnut was designated as the city’s official tree in 2009. The trees located along Gerone Street and the football field are also part of the arboretum. In 2003, the Gene Berry Memorial Gazebo was constructed and dedicated.