Overland Trail & Point of Rocks, Wyoming

The Overland Trail is one of the lesser-known immigrant trails that crossed Wyoming. It crossed the state south of the Oregon Trail along much of the route that is today I-80. The Overland Trail may not have been as frequently-traveled as the Oregon Trail, during the Great Migration. But when it opened in 1862, it was a welcome alternative route West. And the Overland provided a much-needed connection to the boomtown to the south, Denver, Colorado. In fact, it was Ben Holliday, a Denver-based stage company owner, who mapped out the new path.

The Overland Trail would move north into the Wyoming Territory, just south of Laramie, from there it would turn west, and make its longest stretch through the desert region of southwest Wyoming. This was a safer route west, originally a stage and mail line, that would immediately attract the emigrant travel of the Great Migration. The Overland served as a major thoroughfare for seven years, until 1869, when the Transcontinental Railroad came. The Overland Stage Company and its mail and freight business ended, but wagons still rolled along the Overland Trail for another 30 years, up until the 1900′s.

Overland Trail
Overland Trail

Wyoming is famous for its trails. The “Way West” cut right through the Wyoming Territory, be it emigrant trails, pony express routes, or railroad tracks. The Overland Trail was one of those, that showed the way.

Point of Rocks

Its name is taken from the nearby sandstone ridge that juts over Bitter Creek. Point of Rocks is located 25 miles east of Rock Springs, Wyoming, and it was a focal “point” for the delivery of mail, miners, and the railroad. And today, Point of Rocks is the point of a seven-mile spur of the railroad that heads north to the Jim Bridger Power Plant.

Point of Rocks, Wyoming

Point of Rocks was an important landmark and stop along the Overland Trail in the mid-1800s. It was also a Pony Express Station, a stage station, and a staging point for miners into the goldmines at South Pass and Atlantic City, during the gold rush of the 1860s. Point of Rocks was also an important shipping point for western stockmen wanting to send sheep and cattle to markets in Omaha and Chicago.

The Pony Express

For such a legendary endeavor, it’s hard to believe it only had a life of 18 months. The Pony Express lasted all of a year-and-a-half and would prove to be a financial failure. But back in 1860, it was a news-making step into the future of speedier mail delivery that had the appeal of the adventure of the western frontier.

The Pony Express would span a distance of nearly 2,000 miles, from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco, California. And 504 miles of the Pony Express route would cut across the southern plains of the Wyoming Territory. The route would make its way through 8 different states and territories, but it was the Wyoming Territory that would provide more miles than any other.

The Pony Express was the brainchild and business venture of the firm of Russell, Majors, and Wadell. This large freighting company would make mail deliveries, the entire 1,966 miles, in just 10 days. And it was the daring riders on the backs of mustangs, that would become the thrillseeking stars of the day.

The Pony Express would utilize a total of 500 horses, 200 riders, and 190 relay stations. Here in the Wyoming Territory, the stations were spaced roughly 20 miles apart, from Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger. One of the soon-to-be more famous Wyomingites, a fellow by the name of William F. Cody, actually began his storied frontier career as a Pony Express Rider. He hadn’t become known as “Buffalo Bill” quite yet, when he rode for the Pony Express, at age 15.

The fearless messengers who rode for the Pony Express took an oath not to drink and refrain from the use of profane language. They were provided with nothing more than an inscribed Bible, the light satchel of mail, and a fast horse.

The Overland Trail Resources

The Overland Trail Across the American West – Legends of …
The Overland Trail, also known as the Overland Stage Line, was a stagecoach and wagon road in the American West. Portions of the route had been used by explorers and trappers since the 1820s, especially along what would later become the California, Oregon, and Mormon Trails. The Overland Trail Mail route was established by Ben Holladay, in 1862, which closely followed the Pony Express Trail.

The Overland Trail–Map of Julesburg to Ft.Bridger (Last …
The Overland Trail. Clickable Map: Julesburg to Ft. Bridger. Click on any of the Place-Names. Send comments, suggestions or inquiries: Overland Trail [Overland Trail …

The Overland Trail Cattle Company LLC
The Overland Trail Ranch encompasses about 500 square miles of rugged and diverse terrain roughly between Rawlins and Saratoga in Carbon County, Wyoming. While the ranch consists of a mix of land ownerships including private, federal and state parcels, cooperative agreements, grazing leases and an allotment management plan assure that the …

12. Overland Trail – Visit Laramie Wyoming
The Overland Trail was famously used by the Overland Stage Company owned by Ben Holladay to run mail and passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah, via stagecoaches in the early 1860s. Starting from Atchison, Kansas, the trail descended into Colorado before looping back up to southern Wyoming and rejoining the Oregon Trail at Fort Bridger.

Big ranch has long history | Wyoming News | trib.com
Overland Trail Ranch now runs about 5,000 of cattle, including both cow-calf pairs and a yearling heifer and steer operation, Orvis salesman Rye Austin said. Hay and grain are raised on the ranch …

The Overland Trail Pages–Last updated 11/11/00
Looking at the Overland Trail, the Route and the Ride The Overland Trail–the route ; Map of the Overland Trail in Colorado and Wyoming ; Map of the trail from LaPorte to Virginia Dale, Larimer County, Colorado ; Distances between the stations from Julesburg to Fort Bridger ; The Concord Coach “Overland to California: 1861” Mark Twain “Cruel and Unusual Punishment:” Travel by Coach

Trails across Wyoming: The Oregon, Mormon Pioneer and …
Overland Trail —In 1862, the Postmaster General of the United States decided to move the overland mail route from the Oregon-California trail along the North Platte and Sweetwater rivers in what’s now Wyoming to a more southern route thought to be less susceptible to Indian attack. This route through Bridger Pass followed segments of the …

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