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EXPLORE AWARE!

Fort Bridger, Wyoming

Uinta County

This is one of the rare entries to this web site that doesn't require any sort of off road vehicle. To get there the way we did wouldn't require a 4x4, unless of course it was snowing or raining. As you all know, I always take the least practical way to the places I visit. Along these lonely roads you can see and find many new things. For example, I visited the ghost town of Piedmont prior to my visit to Fort Bridger. Along the back road we encountered numerous antelope, quite a few deer and ponds covered with Canadian Geese. Plus, we only saw 2 other vehicles, which is ok with me. OK, 99.9% of you will visit Fort Bridger by driving along I-80. I had to use 7 miles of it so it is ok. Fort Bridger, the historic site, is about 2 miles off the highway. The sign marking the entrance isn't very big so pay attention or you'll drive past it. Now, I am a history junkie. I have planned this visit for years. Hell, I even added a night in a hotel just so I wouldn't miss anything. Sure glad that plan never happened. What? I am serious. This place was a major disappointment to me. We will cover that later tho. Fort Bridger was established in 1842 by the renowned Jim Bridger. It was a place where those crossing the plains for California, Oregon or Utah could purchase supplies as needed. It also had a blacksmith service available. Bridger ran the fort until 1855 when it was "purchased" by the Mormons in Salt Lake. The fort was renamed Fort Supply and was used as a refueling station, if you must, for the Mormon pioneers coming to the Salt Lake Valley. This lasted until October of 1857. The US Army was marching on Salt Lake so in order to keep it from falling into the army's hands, the fort was burned to the ground. With the abandonment by the Mormons, the US Army took control of Fort Bridger. It remained an army fort for several years. The fort also was a stop on the infamous Pony Express Trail. When the Civil War began, federal troops were pulled from Bridger as well as Utah and sent east to join the war. Troops from California were brought in as replacements. They were there till the wars end and regular troops returned in 1866. The fort was used until 1890 when it was abandoned by the government. Buildings were sold and moved and farming took over the area. Again, sources are non agreeing but sometime between the late 1920's and early 1930's, the land was bought in order to preserve what remained of the original fort and area. Time has passed and today its a nice state park in Wyoming.  So, why was it a disappointment? Where to begin...... lack of staff. We met the 2 employees that we could find and that was it. One took our money and the other monitored the museum. The museum lady was as helpful as she could be but..... I was expecting more. Just for an example, any Mormon historical site you visit, you will be tripping over people ready to answer any question you have. If I had a question at the fort, I looked up the answer on my phone.  Exhibits. Another disappointment. 90% were locked, and the windows were so dirty you couldn't take a foto if you wanted too. Some had "doorbell" buttons which I assume would activate some sort of explanation and maybe light up showing what it was. None of them worked.  Heaven forbid you need to take a leak. The bathrooms are at the farthest point away from the entrance. Seriously, the last thing you can see in this multi-acre park are the bathrooms. I will give the park credit, the museum is filled with some cool stuff. An interesting  thing was the Indian kiosks. They talked a lot about Utah's Shoshone leader Washakie and his treaties signed at Fort Bridger. All in all, it didn't live up to what I had hoped for. I did see some coll things in the museum and the ticket-booth/general store has a bottle collection to die for. If you are in the area, spend your $4 and have a walk through the park. I would recommend  spring or fall due to the summer heat.   

Fort Bridger fotos