Independence Rock State Historic Site

Pathway leading through grass and sagebrush plains to a larger dome shaped natural rock formation
Independence Rock at Independence Rock State Historic Site

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Restroom, Trailhead

A map of Passport and Places to Go locations for National Historic Trails.

Independence Rock was the most-noted landmark of the wagon trails west of Fort Laramie. The rock derived its name from a party of fur trappers who camped and celebrated Independence Day near the rock on July 4, 1830. Eventually, thousands of emigrants camped at the foot of this 1,900 feet long by 850 feet wide granite outcrop. They carved their names and messages into the granite, using Independence Rock as a bulletin board for Oregon Trail travelers. In 1961, it was designated a national historic landmark managed by the State of Wyoming.

Today, the site contains a footpath that goes around the base of the rock, interpretive exhibits that tell the trail story, visible trail ruts (a deep wagon swale passes beneath the path's footbridge), and emigrant inscriptions. Hiking is allowed on the rock; however, please avoid walking on the earliest inscriptions as they are wearing thin.

Emigrant Remarks

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."

Site Information

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More Site Information

Oregon National Historic Trail

California National Historic Trail

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Pony Express National Historic Trail

California National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, Oregon National Historic Trail, Pony Express National Historic Trail

Last updated: November 3, 2020