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Established by Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez in 1843 as an emigrant supply stop along the Oregon Trail. It was obtained by the Mormons in the early 1850s, and then became a military outpost in 1858. In 1933, the property was dedicated as a Wyoming Historical Landmark and Museum. There are several restored historical buildings from the military time period, a reconstructed of the trading post operated by Jim Bridger, and an interpretive archaeological site containing the base of the cobble rock wall built by the Mormons during their occupation of the fort. All of these locations are signed in Braille. In addition, a museum containing artifacts from the various different historical time periods is housed in the 1888 stone barracks building. There are gift shops in both the museum and the reconstructed trading post. There is no camping available at Fort Bridger.

  • The historical Trading Post in Ft. Bridger
  • A back view of the Trading Post
  • The entrance to Ft. Bridger
  • An old western painting of Ft. Bridger

The most notable historic resource in the Bridger Valley remains old Fort Bridger, now operated as a state historic site. Bridger and Vasquez established the fort on the Black’s Fork of the Green River and planned to trade both with the American Indians they had befriended during their years in the fur trade and the westward-bound emigrants. Their first "fort" consisted of two rude double-log houses about 40 feet in length, joined with a pen for horses. They also boasted a blacksmith's shop, something that many emigrants welcomed after months on the trails.

But, for those emigrants who had long looked forward to their arrival at Fort Bridger, the post often turned out to be a disappointment. It was not nearly as well outfitted as the seemingly luxurious Fort Laramie on the eastern Wyoming plains. Fort Bridger turned out to be little more than a crude collection of rough-hewn log buildings. Emigrant Edwin Bryant said of the fort: "The buildings are two or three miserable cabins, rudely constructed and bearing but a faint resemblance to habitable houses.”

Jim Bridger. National Park Service.The Mormon Pioneer Company arrived at the fort on July 7, 1847. They spent a day there, but found all the prices very inflated. When a small group of Mormons settled nearby, tensions began to mount between Bridger and the new settlers. The settlers reported that Bridger was selling liquor and ammunition to the Indians, in violation of federal law.

Brigham Young, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a federal Indian agent, responded by sending the Mormon militia to the fort in 1853. Bridger learned they were coming and fled before the Mormons arrived. Later that year, the Mormons established Fort Supply about twelve miles south of Fort Bridger, specifically to service the Mormon emigrants. 

The 38-acre site was named a Wyoming Historical Landmark and Museum in 1933. Parts of the stone wall constructed by the Mormons in the 1850s have recently been the subject of archaeological explorations at Fort Bridger. Several historic buildings, which have been restored, remain at the fort, as well as a reconstructed trading post, an interpretive archaeological site and a museum housing artifacts from the different periods of Fort Bridger’s use.

Bryant, Edwin. What I Saw in California: Being the Journal of a Tour by the Emigrant Route and South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, across the Continent of North America, the Great Basin, and through California, in the Years 1846, 1847. New York, N.Y: D. Appleton & Co., 1848. Reprinted Palo Alto, Calif: Lewis Osborne, 1967. Kristin Johnson transcription. Carter, Edgar N. “Fort Bridger Days.” The Westerners Brand Book 1947. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Corral of Westerners International, 1947, 83–88. Carter, William A. Letterbook of W. A. Carter, Fort Bridger, Wyoming, 1860–1861. 17B-4-5, Columbia, Mo.: Missouri Historical Society. Fillmore, L. [Lemuel]. Diary, 1858. Special correspondent for the New York Herald for Kansas and the Utah War, 1858. Typescript, American Heritage Center. Copy in OCTA Manuscripts, Mattes Library. See also, [Lemuel Fillmore], Fort Laramie, 18 May 1858 and 19 to 29 May. In Gove, The Utah Expedition and Special Correspondence of the New York Herald, 226–38; 249–60. Finlay, William Porter. “The Army for Utah.” Dispatches, July to September 1857, in Saint Louis Leader, 5 October, page 4, columnns 3-4; 7 October, 4/3-4; 8 October, 4/2-3; and 27 October 1857, 2/2-3. Reprinted in MacKinnon, ed., At Sword’s Point: A Documentary History of the Utah War to 1858. Ferguson, Samuel Wragg. “With Albert Sidney Johnston’s Expedition to Utah, 1857.” Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, 1911-12, 12, 303–12. Gove, Capt. Jesse A. The Utah Expedition, 1857–1858: Letters of Capt. Jesse A. Gove, 10th Inf., U.S.A., of Concord, N.H., to Mrs. Gove, and Special Correspondence of the New York Herald. Ed. by Otis G. Hammond. Concord, NH: New Hampshire Historical Society, 1928. Gove, Jesse Augustus. “March of the Utah Expedition from Fort Bridger to Fort Leavenworth, 1861.” WA MSS 226, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, Green Haven, Conn.