mIle 917: Fort Casper

Site of Fort Caspar/Platte Bridge Station, Fort Caspar Museum, 1847 Mormon Ferry, and Guinard Bridge. Fort Casper was a focus of 19th century emigration, commercial, and military activity. In 1847, Brigham Young’s Mormon pioneer party made a difficult crossing the North Platte River near this location, then left behind a small party to establish a ferry service there. Later, a toll bridge, trading post, Pony Express relay station, and telegraph office were built nearby. In 1862, the Army established a small military post at the station. The Fort Caspar Museum now provides on-site orientation and self-guided tour brochures for the reconstructed fort. A modest admission fee is charged.

Beyond Fort Caspar, travelers left the Platte River lifeline to strike out for the Sweetwater, which would take them to the Continental Divide at South Pass. Once in the Pacific watershed, the main trail followed smaller drainages to the Green River, west of today’s Farson.