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“History Carved In Stone” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Independence Rock State Historic Site

Independence Rock State Historic Site
WY Route 220, Alcova, WY 82620
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Ranked #1 of 2 attractions in Alcova
Type: Historic Sites, Geologic Formations
Attraction Details
Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“History Carved In Stone”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

This is one of many historical sites along the Oregon Trail, and amongst my favorite!
It sits at a rest area on RT. 220 about one hour from Casper WY and about 1-2 miles from Devil's Gates (another stop work checking out). Independence Rock is a large granite rock 130 ft high, 1900 ft long and 850 ft wide. It's located near the Granite Mountains
It was a well known landmark on the Oregon/California emigrant trail. The rock's name is derived from wagon parties the left from the Missouri River area in the spring would try to reach the rock by July 4th in order to reach their destinations before the first snowfall.
A sidewalk form the rest area will take you through a few historical plaques, stop and read them; it gives you a sense of what the pioneers went through on their journeys.
As you depart from the gate and cross a small bridge there is a white stick marking a point on the Oregon Trail. It’s hard to believe that was once a major historical “highway”.
The sidewalk leads you to a gate, that’s where the gravel path begins; it’s also where there are a few visible names. If you take the gravel path to the left and follow around where the rock faces the road you will see an area historically dedicated and protected by a chain link fence (for good reason, too many people climb the rock, vandalize it and make their own carvings desecrating it for the rest of us to appreciate).
If you’re like me and like to explore and go off the beaten path you can walk around the entire rock. BEWARE the path turns to dirt and isn’t well maintained, there are many parts with calf high grass and there have been reports of rattlesnakes…and there are no close hospitals. So Look & Listen! I leisurely walked the entire circumference of the rock and stopped to take pictures along the way and it took me about 1 hour. It is not a strenuous walk, it’s flat. If you Must get close to the rock, keep in mind the grasses along the rock are not maintained and are knee high in places.
Along the back side facing the mountains is where I found the names to be very clearly carved and they showed up better in my photos (also the sign hitting the back of the rock makes for a nice picture).
It’s fascinating that this piece of history still has most of the names visible. . It’s amazing to see the history that is carved in stone. The rest area is nice and clean, plenty of parking and there is a picnic area. Even back then this was a rest area along the Oregon Trail.
It’s definitely worth stopping for!

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Watch Out for Rattlesnakes!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013 via mobile

I've stopped at Independence Rock many times going to/from western destinations in Wyoming, but my last trip could have been more interesting than I wanted. Just as I was about to step of the gravel/rock pathway to photograph some Pronghorn Antelope in the distance, there was this strong buzzing sound. I stopped in my tracks, looked down, and there was a rattlesnake staring at me from about four feet away. The nearest hospital was 55 miles away in Casper, WY so I slowly backed away from the snake and no harm was done. Be safe on the sage prairie folks! Wyoming is a beautiful state!

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kennewick, Washington
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“So glad we stopped!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

First of all, there were NO signs that said Independence Rock was coming up. It is a rest area adjacent to the State Park. We climbed up to the top and saw the engravings the pioneers made. It was a neat experience. We didn't spend a lot of time at the top because there were flying ants and our 4 year old started screaming when they landed on her. It was cool to look out and see where the pioneers traveled. My husband and I were talking while we were on the rock about how much fun it must have been for the pioneer children to come up on this rock and play around. We sure had fun playing around on it!

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wichita, Kansas
Top Contributor
201 reviews 201 reviews
104 attraction reviews
Reviews in 89 cities Reviews in 89 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
“This is one of many Oregon Trail sites on this highway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

Stop at all of them, none of them will take very long but all of them are important to the history of this nation and this region. Independence Rock, Devil's Gate and the Mormon site adjacent to it and Split Rock when taken in sequence give you an idea of the trails and tribulations endured on the Oregon trail by these pioneers. No glitz, but you can see these people walking across landscape that even today is barren and disheartening. Little things like this bring american history to life.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wyoming
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Worth a Visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

I have been to Independence Rock twice. Both times were with large school groups. The rock is quite large so take some time to explore it. You can climb the steep face near the parking area or travel around the rock to areas with easier access to the top. Play a game to see who can find the oldest date as you explore. When you head to the back of rock facing the river, there is a small cave that has some great signatures in it. Kids can play here for a good amount of time but would need supervision. We also wade in the river as we discuss river crossings. This is an important historical site to the pioneer westward movement. Anyone interested in western history should visit this place. It is good exercise as well as educational.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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