The Overland Trail

Fort Bridger

Fort Bridger was was established in the Rockies in 1843 by Mountain Men, Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez as an emigrant supply stop along the Oregon Trail. It was located 478 miles northwest of Denver and 124 miles northeast of Salt Lake, its altitude being about 7000 feet. It was nestled in the mountains, in the center of green pastures, and was well watered. Bridger and Vasquez created a space of perhaps two acres surrounded by a stockade eight to ten feet high. Inside this stockade Bridger built a large log store stocked with dry-goods, groceries, liquor, tobacco, and ammunition. His residence, also built of logs, was diagonally across from it in the opposite corner of the stockade. His ranch and fort proved to be one of the main hubs of westward expansion since it was so situated that he was soon trading with Mormons, gold hunters, pilgrims, the military, mountain men and Indians.

Jim Bridger sold it to the Mormons in 1853, who subsequently burned it during the Utah War of 1857. It was then transformed into a military outpost in 1858. The name Fort Bridger was retained as a compliment to the early hunter, trapper, guide, and scout. By 1861 most of the Army troops went back to the East and Fort Bridger was virtually abandoned.

Nestled in the mountains in the center of green pastures, Fort Bridger again became occupied by the Army during the Indian raids starting in 1862. Black's Fork, a large clear running stream, a tributary of Green River, flows right by the station. Fort Bridger remained an active military post until the late 1880's. After the military abandoned the post, many of the buildings were moved off the property to become private homes, barns, and bunkhouses. In 1933 the property became a Wyoming Historical Landmark and Museum, and continues to be administered by Wyoming State Parks & Historic Sites, Division of Parks & Cultural Resources.

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