In order to reach Fort Laramie, the emigrants had to cross both the North Platte and Laramie rivers. Over the many years that Fort Laramie (and, in its earlier incarnation, Fort William and Fort John) operated, the fur trappers, traders, Indians, and emigrants who frequented the site used no less than four different crossings of the North Platte and at least nine different sites for crossing the Laramie River. Nearly all of these crossings offered various services – ferries, fords, and bridges – during their years of operation. Which route a party chose to utilize usually depended on how the rivers were flowing in any given year.
The only crossing easily identified today is the third crossing of the North Platte just east of Fort Laramie. Here, the fourth bridge to span the river at this point was built in 1876. Still standing, this three-span, bow-string iron girder is Wyoming’s oldest. While built too late to have been heavily used by the emigrants, this bridge served the military as well as travelers on the Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail.
National Park Service
Comprehensive Management Plan
No known threats. The site is not listed on the National Register
The bridge is clearly visible and accessible as one approaches Fort Laramie National Historic Site on the main road from the town of Fort Laramie.