Since 1986, interest in the historic trails has steadily increased in Wyoming. The historic trails are its major attraction. However, these trails aren't fully mapped.
BackCountry Navigator is the number one Android GPS mapping app with an add-on BLM maps for Wyoming. For Android users who are interested in visiting the Wyoming trails, these maps are essential.
Wyoming is the tenth biggest state in the United States but not populated. Over 17.5 million acres of public lands and 40.7 million acres of federal mineral estate in Wyoming are being managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Wyoming's reputation for its legendary trails gave a substantial contribution to America's history. During the 1800's, Wyoming became the focus for Western expansion.
Historic Trails in Wyoming
Lander Trail (1841-1868)
The Lander Trail was a cutoff between South Pass and the Snake River country. It is the only stretch of the Oregon Trail system to ever be subsidized and constructed by the federal government. More than 13,000 emigrants traveled it in 1859, its first year of use.
The route is well marked in most places. For Android travelers using Wyoming BLM maps for Android on this trail, creating waypoints would be easy.
Hams Fork Cutoff (1841-1868)
By 1850, the Oregon-Mormon Pioneer-California trail system had developed almost as many shortcuts as there were wagon masters. The emigrants called these shortcuts "cutoffs".
This trail is unmarked and located mostly on private lands. Since this trail is unmarked, any visitor with BackCountry Navigator Android GPS app can use breadcrumbing and mark waypoints in this trail.
Overland Trail (1862-1869)
Ben Holladay established this new trail through Bridger Pass as a shorter, safer route for his Overland Stages that had previously been operating along the Oregon Trail system through South Pass.
The Overland Trail is not well marked and the trail is mostly on alternating sections of private lands and BLM-managed public lands. BLM maps are needed to navigate this trail.
Bridger Trail (1864-1900's)
This road was intended to be a safe and acceptable alternate to the Bozeman Trail, connecting the Oregon Trail at Fort Caspar with the gold fields in western Montana via a route west of the Big Horn Mountains.
The Bridger Trail is not marked and is still not well known. Once in the Big Horn Basin, most of the Trail is on private land. To avoid trespassing on private lands while hiking, a BLM map from BackCountry Navigator would be helpful.
Bozeman Trail (1864-1868)
John Bozeman pioneered this route as a shortcut between the Oregon Trail at Fort Laramie and the gold camps recently opened in western Montana. The Bozeman Trail, located along the eastern foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, became the most hated of all the western emigration trails. Bozeman's route violated the cherished home and hunting grounds of the Sioux. Red Cloud and his allies vowed that no white man should invade this territory. The battles fought along the Trail were the most violent, frequent and devastating of any during the Plains Indian Wars.
The actual route of the Bozeman Trail is not well marked, although numerous monuments and informative signs are located at places where the trail intersects modern public roadways. Much of the trail is located on private land. BLM maps are often used to distinguish public from private land on this trail.
Stage & Freight Trails (1869-1900's)
With the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad across southern Wyoming in 1869, a series of stage and freight wagon roads were developed to serve fledgling communities to the north. Two of these roads, the Bryan-South Pass Road and the Point of Rocks-South Pass City Road, were both established to serve the boom town of South Pass City that sprang to life following gold discoveries along the upper Sweetwater region in 1867. Soon a new stage road, the Rawlins-Fort Washakie Stage Road was developed to serve the headquarters of the Wind River Indian Reservation.
The stage roads are located mostly on BLM-managed public lands but are not marked or well mapped. Portions of Highway 287 from Rawlins to Lander parallel the Fort Washakie Road. BLM maps for Android would prove to be handy in this trail.
Texas Trail (1876-1897)
Along this trail passed the greatest migration of men and cattle from Texas to replace the fast vanishing buffalo in Wyoming and Montana. Used from 1876 to 1897, the trail entered Wyoming where the town of Pine Bluffs now sits. It extended north through eastern Wyoming on a line parallel to today's US 85, connecting to the current I-90 corridor at Moorcroft, then up the Little Powder River into Montana. Much of the trail paralleled the Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Route.
Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Road (1876-1887)
This trail tells the story of gold-laden Concord stagecoaches rocking wildly on leather through braces, pulled at top speed by perfectly matched six-horse teams; of outlaws hidden along the road, willing to do anything to get the gold; of Sioux warriors gathering on the ridges, angered at the white man's intrusion into their sacred Black Hills; of Wyatt Earp as shotgun messenger, George Lathrop as driver with Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill as passengers; of the US Cavalry charging across the prairie to protect the coaches and cargo. It was a clash of cultures and values that could only have happened in Wyoming.
The Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Road is marked by monuments and informative signs at intersections with public roads. Most of the actual trail is on private land, but much of the route is paralleled by improved county and state roads.
Oregon-California-Mormon Pioneer-Pony Express Trails
Oregon Trail (1843-1868)
The route was known to mountain men, fur trappers, traders and missionaries in the 1820s and 1830s but was not successfully negotiated by a wagon train until 1843. The trail entered Oregon Territory when it crossed South Pass in what is now western Wyoming.
California Trail (1841-1868)
This trail is best known for the incredible amount of traffic it carried during the California Gold Rush years of 1849 through the mid-1850's. The California Trail shares its route with the Oregon and Mormon Pioneer Trails from Fort Laramie through South Pass.
Trail marking and land ownership patterns are the same as the Oregon and Mormon Pioneer Trails.
Mormon Pioneer Trail
This 1,297-mile trail links Nauvoo, Illinois with Salt Lake City, Utah. The western stretch of the Trail across Wyoming was opened in 1847 when church leader Brigham Young led a pioneer party of 148 Latter Day Saints and 72 wagons from the Missouri River to their new, permanent home in the Salt Lake Valley.
The Mormon Pioneer Trail through Wyoming is roughly identical to the Oregon Trail from Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger. The same patterns of land ownership and trail markings apply.
Pony Express Trail (1860-1861)
For eighteen months starting in April 1860, the Pony Express was the talk of the nation. Since that time, it has become a legend the world enjoys. The completion of the transcontinental telegraph in October 1861 signaled the end of the Pony Express.
The route is well marked, both along the actual trail and on parallel highways and byways. Much of the trail is on BLM public lands, west of Casper.
Here's a video with some awesome shots of Wyoming. Enjoy your trip in the land of trails and be guided with BackCountry Navigator Android BLM maps.