“AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL”
Riverton was placed in a natural basin that had long been a gathering point for several people since pre-history to the 1838 mountain man rendezvous. The town played host to many of the legendary people such as, Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, and Lewis and Clark. Today, 1838 Mountain Man Rendevous keeps the old memories alive by hosting a living encampment, games of skill, food and dancing.
WIND RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION
The 1.7+ million-acre Wind River Indian Reservation, established in 1864 through the Bridger-Teton Treaty with the U.S. government, is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The Wind River Indian Reservation offers visitors a cultural peek into the history of two Native American tribes who now share the beautiful wide open spaces north of Lander.
St. Stephen's Mission, a Catholic mission three and a half miles southwest of Riverton, was founded in the early 1900s. The original mission buildings still exist and Mass is still held in the old, recently remodeled church. A gift shop and heritage center is open to the public. The North American Indian Heritage Center offers historic photographs of tribal members.
Things In and Around Town
Sinks Canyon State Park and Environs: See the unusual geological phenomenon at Sinks Canyon State Park – the Popo Agie River disappears into a cavern (the "Sinks") and then reappears in a trout-filled pool ¼ mile downstream (the "Rise"). The visitor center has interpretive materials, an overlook to the Sinks, and nature trails.
Hike a 1.5 mile trail to the 150-foot Popo Agie Falls. Rock climb at this internationally renowned area.
Wildlife Adventures: Hunt for moose, elk, bighorn sheep, antelope, and other wildlife on your own or with the outfitters. Enjoy watching for raptors, songbirds, waterfowl, and upland game birds in several different habitats.
For more information on the area please contact:
Lander Chamber of Commerce
160 N 1st Street
Thermopolis Top Attractions
HOT SPRINGS STATE PARK
NO ENTRANCE FEE
Lots of grass, trees, walkways, path along terraces, walking bridge, hot mineral pools, picnic areas, etc.
There are several thousand acres dedicated to the buffalo herd that the state of Wyoming maintains at Hot Springs State Park.
South Pass is the gentle ascent where the trail crosses the Continental Divide. Emigration began in 1843 when over 1,000 people made the 2,000 mile trip. Close to 500,000 individuals traveled this route over the Continent heading for Utah, California and Oregon. The last recorded wagon crossed South Pass in 1912. Wagon ruts and the graves of those who died along the way are visible today. South Pass City is now a renovated historic site offering visitors a glimpse into the past. The site is open during the summer months and is approximately 30 miles from Lander. Atlantic City dates back to the 1860's when thousands rushed to the area to be a part of Wyoming's first gold rush
THE OREGON TRAIL
The longest of the great overland routes of westward expansion, the Oregon Trail passes south of Riverton along the Sweetwater River through South Pass. The trail stretched 2,000 miles over mountains, prairies, and deserts. With its trailhead at Independence, Missouri, it led to the Pacific Northwest. Entering Wyoming alongside the North Platte River, it then followed the Sweetwater into South Pass.
The best area in Wyoming to see traces of the trail lie within short driving distance of Riverton; Independence Rock, Devils Gate, Split Rock, the Ice Spring Slough and South Pass all offer views of the well defined wagon ruts and interpretive signs with information on the events and personalities that traveled the route.
Travel to these places will include views of antelope, wild horses, gold mines and will allow for jade, agate and gold hunting.
THE MORMON TRIAL
A special element of the westward migration along the Oregon Trail is not complete without inclusion of the Mormon emigrants heading to the Great Salt Lake in Utah. At Fort Laramie in Wyoming, the Mormons crossed the south side of the North Platte River and joined the Oregon Trail. After 1847, over 20,000 Mormons moved along the trail in wagons and handcarts. From 1856 to 1860, 3,000 Mormons with 653 carts in ten different groups made the trip to Utah.
These carts were wooden framed and of a wheel base-designed to fit wagon tracks. Each car could carry about 500 pound consisting of provisions and a few personal possessions. They were pushes and pulled by hand. All but two of the companies (the Martin and Willie Companies) completed the trip with few problems. Trapped by blizzards, these two companies lost hundreds to exposure before they could be rescued. The sites of these rescues are marked along the Oregon Trail. Over 6,000 Mormons died during their immigration along the trail. Their story is a special portion of the history of the western immigration and these markers can be visited by short trips south of Riverton.