Select a different theme
Get Real Player Free
    Reenactment was  located off site  with landowner permission. Please do not dig in the Ice slough.
  Having just trudged through deep sand and been confronted with three crossings of the maddeningly inconsistent Sweetwater River, the emigrants now found a grassy swamp. Just below it, by digging down sometimes as little as just a few inches, the emigrants found a bed of solid, clear ice. This was known as the Ice Slough and, according to Gregory Franzwa, was "one of those absolutely delightful interludes that somehow seemed to crop up just as the incessant slogging west was putting emigrants in the lowest of spirits."

The Ice Slough is actually a small tributary which drains into the Sweetwater. A variety of marshSign located on Highway 287 near the Ice Slough grasses and related tufted marsh plants, known as sedges, form a patchwork of surface plant life. Water flowing underneath this peat-like vegetation freezes solid in the winter and remains frozen during the spring and early summer as a result of this insulating peat.

In the middle of the hot, dusty trek, emigrants found ice an exceptional treat and this area became a popular camping site. While here, many emigrants dug up large blocks of ice and stored it in their water barrels to provide cold water for the long difficult stretches ahead. J. Goldsborough Bruff noted in 1849 that "The surface is dug up all around by travelers – as much from curiosity as to obtain so desirable a luxury in a march so dry and thirsty…." Today, irrigation diversions have left the slough almost dry and very little ice now forms.

Public (BLM)/private.

DirectionsFremont County, Wyoming. T30N/R93W

9.5 miles west of Jeffrey City on U.S. 287 brings you to an informational sign for the Ice Slough. The actual slough is located about five miles to the east.

National Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
Hydric soils are susceptible to trampling damage by wild horses and season-long livestock grazing that occurred for over a century. This has cause a loss of humus that provided the insulation to facilitate the maintenance of ice. Access to site is across private land. The site is not listed on the National Register.


Back Continue