Trails Center welcomes special guest presentations on Fort Bridger, Willow Springs site

High Plains DO
Event Coordinator
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Event Dates
Event Description

CASPER, Wyo. – Visit the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center June 29 and 30 to learn about two important Wyoming cultural sites, one well-renowned and the other lesser known, with presentations on Fort Bridger and the Willow Springs Campsite in Albany County.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Trails Center welcomes back Spencer Pelton, Wyoming State Archaeologist and adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming, for a presentation on the Willow Springs Campsite. Pelton will discuss what researchers know so far about the site.

Situated around a perennial spring in the southern Laramie Valley, the Willow Springs site served as a major Native American encampment and late-19th century stage station. Native American occupation at the site left behind Albany County’s largest pottery and obsidian collection, giving archaeologists a great idea of who exactly used the site for the last 1,500 years. The site has also yielded many other distinctive artifacts that provide clues about the occupation in the late 1800s, beginning with the Overland Trail.

On Sunday at 1 p.m., Erika Olson of the Fort Bridger Historical Association will share the colorful history of Fort Bridger and the five eras of occupation it encompassed.

In 1843, Jim Bridger established Fort Bridger as a fur trading post. Starting out small, it soon became a vital resupply stop for wagon trains on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Pioneer trails and eventually expanded. In 1857, during the Utah War, Mormon settlers set fire to the fort to prevent the U.S. Army from using it. However, the army rebuilt the fort and later used it as a military outpost until 1890. The fort also served as a Pony Express station in the early 1860s.

Event Schedule

  • June 29 at 11 a.m. – The Ferocious Fur Trade (Youth Program)
  • June 29 at 1 p.m. – The Willow Springs Campsite: A High Plains Oasis
  • June 29 (all day) – Pioneer Trail Trek: Black Hills Route and Pioneer Graves (registration required)
  • June 30 at 1 p.m. – History of Fort Bridger: Migration Era Supply Stop to Military Outpost

To stay up-to-date on summer programs at the Trails Center, follow BLM Wyoming on Facebook or X, or visit the BLM’s Trails Center website at

For questions, call the Trails Center at 307-261-7780.

The Trails Center is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST.
1501 N. Poplar St., Casper, WY 82601
Admission is Free