The Wagner Perspective
Independence Rock - Natrona County, Wyoming
Independence Rock was the most-noted landmark on the emigrant trails west of Fort Laramie.
An oval outcrop of granite rock, it is 1,900 feet long, 700 feet wide, and rises 128 feet above the range. The rock derived its name from a party of fur trappers who camped there and celebrated Independence Day in their own style on July 4, 1830. Independence Rock became one of the great bulletin boards of the Oregon-California Trail-a place to look for word of friends ahead or leave messages for those coming behind. On July 26, 1849, J. Goldsborough Bruff "reached Independence Rock . . . at a distance looks like a huge whale. It is being painted & marked every way, all over, with names, dates, initials, &c - so that it was with difficulty I could find a place to inscribe it."
Today, a highway rest area provides parking and interpretive wayside exhibits. The sure-footed can still climb to the top of the rock to inspect emigrant names that were placed there 150 years ago.Independence Rock State Park
P.O. Box 1596
Evansville, WY 82636
Did You Know?
Rivers played an important role in establishing the 1840s - 1860s Emigrant Road to Oregon and California. In general, the route left the Missouri River to follow the Platte, then the Sweetwater to the Bear, the Snake and then either North to the Columbia or South to the Humboldt. More...