"Resurrection of a ghost city" South Pass City by kokoryko

South Pass City Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 45 photos

Gold rush and migrants

This was once a city, then was a ghost city probably, and nowadays it is back on maps, a very very tiny village (see picture!) which has rehabilitated the old ghost city.
South pass was the place where the Oregon Trail and the California Trail crossed the Great Divide during the migrations to the West in the nineteenth century.
It is located on the southern area of the Wind River Range, high mountains (culminating at Gannet Peak with 4207m) of South Western Wyoming. By chance prospectors discovered a little bit gold dust in the creeks of the area in 1867 and the place became a “gold fever” city judiciously located on one of the main trails of the immigrants. I just can imagine (with my western movies “culture”) how the place has been between 1870-1900.
Businessmen and traders rapidly settled in South Pass City to fill the needs of prospectors and miners; horse stalls, blacksmiths, general stores, clothiers, saloons, seven (!) hotels, butchers, restaurants, etc, etc, composed very soon a half mile long main street.
Today a few of the old houses and buildings have been renovated and constitute the place we can visit and where we can have a little bit of the old atmosphere.

The equality state was born here

At time of its “glory” South Pass City was an important city in Wyoming; there were not only rude miners, tricky poker players, prostitutes, gun men, but also families, a teacher, a mayor other “honest” people, and all lived in a sort of constructive symbiosis and it resulted that the first woman judge (justice Esther Hobart Morris) of the United States was appointed here; following this, Wyoming was the first state of the U S granting vote to the women! Isn’t it amazing that this happened here in the wild mountains rather than in the “civilized” states of the East Coast?
But when the gold fever was over and when the migrants found other routes or just became more rare, the city emptied almost as quickly as it grew. Only very few gold miners stayed there, living in harsh conditions and the few houses remaining are either part of this open air museum or holiday homes for some nostalgic people loving the wild West and the mountains.

A few hours in the open air museum

The very quiet Willow Creek runs its clear waters parallel to the main street where about thirty buildings are preserved; it is interesting to hike up on the hills to have a general view of this place which looks today a bit like a doll village, with bright colored wooden houses disseminated over clean manicured meadows; travels are dreams and imagination: the stage coach arrives with a big cloud of dust, the horses whinny, piano music comes from the saloon, the hammer of the carpenter resonates, the rock mill propagates its thundering sound and heavy dust, the kids scream coming out from the school. . . . .

My photographs are not works of art, my writings are not literature.
Be kind, I posted them here, and I would appreciate you inform me if you intend to display them elsewhere! Merci!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A nice introduction to old Wild west
  • Cons:A bit "clean" may be?
  • In a nutshell:Kid's dreams. . .
  • Last visit to South Pass City: Sep 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (3)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    I just returned from New Mexico and the future plans to near this area may be next year. Glad to see you found remote sites. Good job

    • kokoryko's Profile Photo
      Jun 6, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Thanks for your short visit in South Pass, Bruce! For a European, that sort of place is quite fascinating...

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2008 at 5:56 PM

    A beautiful little page with wonderful photos and insightful comments! Like you, I love stumbling across historic places like South Pass CIty, located as they are, in the middle of nowhere! Very enjoyable verbal 'digs' here and there too!

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2007 at 4:33 PM

    So this is how the west was won... with metal to fashion for your favourite female!


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