Wide open prairies that disappear over the horizon.
Herds of pronghorn antelope grazing on the sparse grasses.
Deep canyons cut by rivers beneath towering sandstone and limestone cliffs.
Snowcapped mountains in the distance.
These were the vistas seen by travelers on the Oregon, California, Mormon Handcart, Pony Express, Overland, and Cherokee Trails, all of which crisscrossed the southern half of what we now know as the state of Wyoming. These trails were replaced in the late 19th century by the transcontinental railroad, and later by Interstate 80, but travelers today still see many of the same vistas.
Dozens of sites are members of Tracks Across Wyoming to celebrate the history of those who have passed through this area. From dinosaurs discovered at Fossil Butte near Kemmerer, to the immigrants working on the railroad in Rock Springs and across the state, to gold miners who founded Centennial, to ranchers who put down roots and stayed despite harsh climate conditions, all are honored in our member museums and historic sites.
Take the time to leave the Interstate behind and discover the real Wyoming.
Not only is Laramie County home to the famous Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo, the first woman governor in the United States ruled from the Governor's Mansion in Cheyenne, and the remains of prehistoric residents are still being discovered near Pine Bluffs by world-renowned University of Wyoming archaeologists.
The University in Laramie, the Albany County seat, houses Insect, Anthropology, Art, and Geology museums, along with a Planetarium. Edward Ivinson built his mansion in Laramie, and Butch Cassidy made his home in the Wyoming Territorial Prison for a time.
Entrepreneurs laid tracks from Laramie west to Centennial to try and turn that community from a gold mining town to a tourist destination; their depot and hotel dedicated in 1907 are still part of the community.
Across the Snowy Range in Carbon County, Medicine Bow still celebrates Owen Wister at the Historic Virginian Hotel.
Coal mining created the community of Hanna, and hardy ranchers established a rapidly vanishing way of life in communities around Savery.
Further west in Lincoln County, James Cash Penney opened a small store in the town of Kemmerer where he only accepted cash, and stocked only items his customers needed. Lessons learned in that store led to his success with the first national department store chain.
The Sweetwater communities of Green River and Rock Springs have strong ties to both the mining industry and the westward expansion of the transcontinental railroad. Laborers from around the world moved to the area and their descendants remain in the area today.
The Pony Express, the Overland Stage, and many of the emigrant trails passed through, and those travelers left their mark on the area in many ways.
In the state's western most county, Uinta, the city of Evanston honors the Chinese immigrants who lived and worked there with exhibits at the Chinese Joss House Museum, and the Fort Bridger State Historic Site depicts life on the plains in the mid-1800s.
Whether your passion is all things railroad, or you're searching for the romance of the Old West, the Tracks Across Wyoming corridor commemorates a dynamic era in our nation's history.
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