Rock Springs, WY, Historic Trails
PHOTO CREDIT: J. Kyle Keener
Sweetwater County hosts several historic trails that played a part in America’s western migration, including the Oregon Trail and the South Pass trail.
The Oregon Trail is the famous route that carried early American pioneers on a six-month trek across America from Missouri to Oregon. Sweetwater County’s portion of the Oregon Trail is about halfway between Missouri and Oregon, and visitors can walk a portion of the trail at the Simpson’s Hollow stop along WY-28.
Visitors to this trail enjoy interacting with a major part of early American history and being able to visit the numerous grave sites that remain along the trail today. About one out of every 10 pioneers who began the trek down the Oregon Trail never reached their final destination; many died along the way, with an average of at least one grave site every tenth of a mile.
The South Pass is a route through the Rocky Mountains that many westward travelers used during the 19th century to reach the Oregon Territory. South Pass reached its peak prominence in 1849 when gold was discovered in California, which drew thousands of fortune-seekers to the West coast through the South Pass.
Today, the remnants of old towns along the South Pass route serve as a testament to the Pass’s important role in America’s westward expansion.
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