Itinerary Ideas That Take Visitors on a Walk into
the Past Apr 09, 2013

Southwest Wyoming Vacation Destination Boasts More Miles of Still-Visible Pioneer Trails in the U.S

Sweetwater County, Wyo. – Sweetwater County, Wyo., is home to more miles of still-visible pioneer trails than anywhere else in the United States. Today the county released several ways to discover the pioneer spirit by retracing the steps of early Americans on the miles of trails where wagon wheel ruts still remain. Whether reliving the journey of early emigrants, Native Americans, gold miners or outlaws, history comes alive for those who visit the deserts and canyons of southwest Wyoming.

“In Sweetwater County, nature and history come together to provide both an informative and peaceful trek into some of the country's last unfenced wilderness,” says Jenissa Bartlett, executive director of Sweetwater Travel & Tourism. “Sweetwater’s huge horizon, national history and natural beauty inspire the trailblazers of today just as it did those who came before us.”

The longest and most famous early-American pioneer trails all pass through Sweetwater County, including the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, Pony Express and California National Historic Trails. In fact, these trails parallel modern-day Highway 28, making them easily accessible by car. Additional trails include the Cherokee, Overland, Outlaw, and Old Emigrant.

Explorers may follow an individual trail or hit the highlights by traveling the itineraries detailed below.

  • Highway 28 Historic Trails Driving Tour is located between the town of Green River (west of Farson) and the South Pass Rest Stop (east of Farson). This route takes drivers to six significant sites: South Pass Overlook, False Parting of the Ways, Big Sandy Crossing, Simpson’s Hollow, Pilot Butte Trail Site and Lombard Ferry.
  • A rather subtle marker of a great turning point in American emigration, the Parting of the Ways – 9.5 miles further west than the False Parting – is the diverging point of the California and Oregon-bound trails. Hikers may explore the road less-traveled for themselves, though only a visit to the Rock Springs' jewelers will add the promise of gold at journey's end!
  • To get a good look at the wagon wheel ruts indented by countless travelers of yesteryear, visitors should seek out False Parting of the Ways, Simpson’s Hollow or the Pilot Butte sites, each of which offer a tangential history lesson of its own.
  • Tales of the Wild West and its famous outlaws still linger in Sweetwater like those of Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch gang. Trail-goers who want to unleash their inner outlaw will enjoy the Outlaw Trail and should also visit Rock Springs' South Main Street. Here, one can visit a building that once housed the butcher shop where Robert LeRoy Parker, a.k.a. Butch Cassidy, worked and earned his nickname.

For a full account of trails and sites in Sweetwater, visit http://www.tourwyoming.com/things-to-do/activities/trails/. Also, there is the National Historic Trails Guide available for download, as well as information on activities that complement a trails visit, such as biking, hunting and camping. Once in the county, the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce on Dewar Drive or Green River's visitor center on Flaming Gorge Way are great starting points offering information and resources such as maps, directions and safety reminders.

About Sweetwater County
Sweetwater County, located halfway between Yellowstone and Canyonlands National Parks in southwest Wyoming, is home to 10,500 square miles of pure, high desert adventure. Known as “Flaming Gorge Country,” the area is characterized by the 91-square-mile Flaming Gorge Lake, the famed Green River, expansive deserts and rugged mountains. Activities include camping, hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, hunting dinosaurs, shopping, and just plain getting away from it all. A perfect place to explore American history, Sweetwater County is also home to petroglyphs, pioneer trails and historical museums.


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Gaylene Ore, Ore Communications, 970.812.8733, gaylene@orecommunications.com
Jenissa Bartlett, Sweetwater Travel & Tourism, 307.382.2538, jbartlett@tourwyoming.com

Sweetwater County Travel Tools