Mountain Men At The Mouth of Bighorn Canyon
Natural Museum of American History
Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, and John Colter. Legendary fur traders - also known as Mountain Men - who once passed through the Bighorn Canyon area. Specifically, each of these men looked forward to reaching the mouth of Bighorn Canyon. That meant they had made it across the Bad Pass Trail. Now it was time to build boats, head north and eventually eastward to St. Louis.
The bullboat, as it was called, was not very maneuverable and it didn’t take long for the hides to become water soaked. But they did serve their purpose in getting to the trading posts along the Yellowstone and the upper Missouri. One fur expedition brought $50,000 worth of furs over the Bad Pass Trail and down the Bighorn River, passing over this ground.
The Fur Trade
Rugged and self-sufficient individuals, that braved the unknown, gathering the untouched resources, the mountain men were the first to push back the frontier. But they eventually disappeared like the wisps of smoke from their campfires. Their rowdy laughter drifted across the stage called "the west” that was now set for the next waves of gold seekers, cattlemen, farmers and what we see now...recreationists.
Tales Around A Campfire
Did You Know?
Long before the Bighorn River was tamed by the Yellowtail Dam, the roiling waters through the canyon were feared. During spring snowmelt, the water turned into a raging torrent, a combination of whirlpools, rapids, and eddies. Conversely, the river through the canyon had a reputation for being placid by late summer, when dry heat and lack of rainfall turned it into a sedate stream. More...