Sunday things to do around Pinedale waiting for the eclipse
Crow Lodge tipi
The Crow Tribe giving a blessing for the Sun Dance Lodge tipi.
New Fork River
The park is on the left side of the New Fork River in this photo.
18 miles of desert
In the mid-1800s, emigrants had to walk across 18 miles of desert on the Lander Trail to reach the New Fork River crossing, where the historical park is located today. If you drive to Hwy 351, cross the river, and take the gravel road just on the other side to the north, you can see another historical marker sign and the Lander Trail concrete marker a mile or so up that road.
A bit of history
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
August 20, 2017
On Sunday, August 20 the Pinedale Eclipse Festival will wind down with an evening outdoor screening of Guardians of the Galaxy at the American Legion Park 8PM to 11PM. The screening is part of Pinedaleís ongoing Park After Dark film series. Free. Presented by Sublette BOCES and the Great Outdoor Shop.
Here are some suggestions of other things to do with a bit of a history emersion twist on Sunday to pass some time around Pinedale waiting for the eclips:
Visit the Museum of the Mountain Man - Hours are 9AM to 5PM daily. Admission is $10/adults, $8 seniors, children 12 & under free. There is a gift shop.
Inside upstairs are great displays on the early 1800s Rocky Mountain Fur Trade history of the area and story of the Green River Rendezvous. Be sure to take a bit of time to walk around the grounds north and south of the museum. To the north youíll see tipis, a beaver fur press, and examples of mountain man shelters. To the south in the fenced area is ĎOld Pinedaleí with three early log cabins (just can see the outside). There is also a beautifully restored sheep wagon, of the kind used in early days as part of the sheep herding and ranching industry in the valley. A little further south on the grounds along the parking lot fence is the "Queen of the Green," one of the many log rafts built by youth participating in the Skinner Brothers Wilderness Camps in the 1960s-1980s and floated down the Green River.
A little further south of that is the massive 40-foot tall Crow Sun Dance lodge tipi replica. A log tipi lodge similar to this was described by Robert Stuart and the returning Astorian Party in 1812 as found along Pine Creek in what would become the Pinedale area. We donít know for whom the Crow Indians did the Sun Dance vengence ceremony against, but there is a sign describing the story on US 191 along Pine Creek in the American Legion Park in Pinedale.
Visit the Lander Trail-New Fork River Crossing Historical Park - If youíre up for a bit of a drive and to spend a couple of hours, this is a 100-acre park situated where the historic Lander Trail crossed the New Fork River in the mid-1800s as part of the Oregon/California Trail emigrant wagon train migration.
The park is run by the Sublette County Historical Society, which also runs the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale and the Sommers Homestead Living History Museum. This is a new interpretive park, opening to the public in 2014. It is located in a beautiful lush cottonwood grove right along the New Fork River south of Boulder. There is a mile-long walking path with seven history-related interpretive signs along the way. A portion of the Lander Trail ruts can be seen coming out of the park headed out near the last portion of the walking trail.
There is public fishing access to the New Fork River (you still need a fishing license). The water is much lower now, so kids can go near the bank and skip rocks across the river, young-uns can build sand castles in the sand along the river bank. Adults, please keep an eye on the kids if they go near or in the water. In the deeper parts the current can be quick, and float fishermen pass by in their drift boats. This is a great place to throw sticks out in the river for your pups. Dogs donít have to be on leash, but please do keep control of your pets and remove any droppings off the trail out of respect for other visitors. Wildlife also use the park, so be aware there might be moose and deer around, so donít let your pets chase them.
The park is walk-in access/day-use only. There is a large parking lot big enough for large RVs to get in, park, and to turn around. This is a pretty spot to spend several hours and bring a picnic lunch. There are 10 picnic tables in the group area and three additional picnic tables dispersed in the shade along the walking path near the parking lot. Can also take your lunch down and eat on a blanket on the grass by the river.
You donít have to stay on the trail. Visitors are welcome to explore all through the park. Look for wildflowers, owls, and enjoy nature. Imagine hundreds of emigrants coming through each day, and camping here with their wagons and large herds of cattle, oxen, sheep and horses all around with them, all making their way on foot on the six month trek to Oregon or California.
In 1859, emigrants would have just crossed the grueling 18 miles of desert, then had to make the challenging and dangerous river crossing. Some people and animals drowned trying to cross the river here during high water. Emigrants used this pretty spot to rest a day or two, wash clothes, bake bread, shoe their oxen, make repairs before continuing on. This was about the half-way point on their journey west.
The mosquitoes are mostly gone now, but there could still be a couple around, so might want to put on a dash of mosquito spray before walking in. Pack it in-Pack it out for litter. There is an outhouse in the administrative area halfway down the trail. The BLM campground just to the south also has a pit toilet. (Anyone interested in donating $35,000 to the historical society for a real bathroom here?)
Directions: The Park is located on the south end of Paradise Road. From Pinedale, go south on US 191 past the airport towards Boulder about 10 miles. Take the road to the right just past the Wind River View RV campground. It isnít signed well, but Paradise Road will immediately drop down and cross the New Fork River. If you get to Boulder, youíve gone too far. This is a good paved road, follow it south for 14 miles. The park will be on your left (west side of the New Fork River). Youíll see the large monument sign at the entry to the large parking lot. Coming from Highway 351 to Paradise Road, the park is one mile north and will be on your right.
More information, directions and updates can be found at www.NewForkPark.org. Additional info: Lander Trail-New Fork River Crossing Historical Park. More history info about the park