South Pass Area Attractions
The South Pass area is of national historical significance for several reasons. The South Pass of the Continental Divide made possible the westward migration which began in 1843. South Pass is the gently sloping hump of the emigrant trails, rising to an elevation of only 7,526 feet. This feature provided the 19th century emigrants with a relatively "easy" crossing of the Continental Divide. Four National Historic Trails pass through the South Pass area--the Oregon, Mormon Pioneer, California, and Pony Express.
Another nationally-designated trail also crosses the South Pass area, but in a north-south rather than an east-west direction. This is the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, a 3,100-mile long trail running from Canada to Mexico and passing through the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
South Pass is also the locale of Wyoming's 1867 gold rush. Hundreds of miners and others hoping to make their fortune in the area founded the mining camps of South Pass City, Atlantic City, and Miner's Delight.
South Pass City – Located on the Atlantic City Road seven miles from Hwy. 28, South Pass City is operated by the State of Wyoming as a State Historic Site and Museum. Twenty-five of the original 300 buildings in the town remain and house some 20,000 artifacts, most of which were recovered on-site. The Historic Site is open May 15 through October 15. The admission fee is $1.00 for persons 18 and older.
In addition, an 1868 tea party hosted by South Pass City resident Esther Hobart Morris was the catalyst which led the Wyoming Territorial Legislature to become the first governmental unit in the world to grant women the right to vote and hold office. Hobart went on to be elected as the South Pass City Justice of the Peace--the first female judge in the world!
Atlantic City – The town's name refers to its location on the Atlantic side of the Continental Divide. Long-abandoned gold mines dot the hillsides above the town. Located three miles from Hwy. 28 on the Atlantic City Road, the town still has a few commercial establishments, some of which date back to the gold rush era.
Miner's Delight – Administered by the Bureau of Land Management, this genuine ghost town contains the remains of a gold-mine era stamp mill, cemetery, and other buildings. It's located three miles from Hwy. 28 on the north side of the Fort Stambaugh Loop Road.
Willie's Handcart Disaster Site – A starving and freezing Mormon handcart company came to a halt at Rock Creek in 1856. By the time a rescue party from Salt Lake City arrived at Rock Creek, 77 of the 404 members had died from exposure or starvation. The Rock Creek site is located nine miles from Atlantic City on the Lewiston Road. A marker located along the Hudson-Atlantic City Road commemorates the party's ascent of Rocky Ridge where several emigrants also perished.
Wild Iris Rock Climbing Area – This limestone mountain in the Shoshone National Forest provides world-class rock climbing. Information about the area may be obtained from several outlets in nearby Lander. The area is located on Limestone Mountain Road approximately two to three miles from its intersection with Hwy. 28.