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Rugged Rocky RidgeThis rugged stretch of trail caused the emigrants no limits of grief. Today, the ridge can be seen by staying on the graveled BLM Hudson-Atlantic City Road or the adventurous can cross it in 4WD vehicles. The emigrants ascended this barren rocky ridge after leaving the Sweetwater Valley en route to South Pass. Along Rocky Ridge, the trail ascends about 700 feet in two miles through a rugged boulder strewn path.

On the eastern edge of Rocky Ridge sits a monument to the misery endured at this site by the Willie’s Handcart Company. James G. Willie organized a Mormon handcart company in 1856 and set out from Council Bluffs at approximately the same time as the Martin Handcart Willies Handcart MonumentCompany. The same winter storm that trapped the Martin Company near Red Buttes also struck the Willie Company at this point just east of Rocky Ridge. With no food, the Willie Company watched as the snow began to fall and the temperatures plummeted. That night, thirteen people froze to death. Before they could move on, another eight succumbed to the elements.

The full stretch of trail known today as Rocky Ridge runs about 12 miles, across two high ridge shelfs, crossing Strawberry Creek and passing the old ghost town of Lewiston. The rock cuts left by wagon wheels are among the most dramatic trail remnants remaining on the westward emigrant trails.
Public (BLM)

Fremont County, Wyoming. T29N/R97W
Take the Hudson-Atlantic City BLM road turn-off from US 287 approximately 5 miles west of the Sweetwater Station Rest Area. This road parallels the trail to the north and offers good overlooks of Rocky Ridge, Lewiston Lakes and the Sweetwater Canyon gash. To reach Rocky Ridge itself, follow the signs to the Oregon Trail from the Hudson-Atlantic City Road. This sign contains extreme caution reminders which should be heeded. It will take you to the eastern Willie’s Handcart Marker. From there, follow the trail westward. You will emerge at the western Willie’s Handcart Site on Rock Creek. This journey should not be attempted alone or in other than a 4WD vehicle.

National Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
Needs improved access and a cultural landscape report. The site has great visual integrity and appears to have undergone little disturbance. Overuse, especially on the west side, may cause degradation of the fragile resource if visitation increases. The site is not listed on the National Register.

Additional Information
William Clayton, 1848: "Rough, rocky ridges – Dangerous to wagons, and ought to be Rocky Ridge and a Mormon Handcart Reinactimentcrossed with care."

J. Goldsborough Bruff, 31 Jul 1849: "…ascended the high hill, moved over it, and ascended another, very stony and rough, requiring care of the teamsters: -- then over some hard level road, and minor stony ridges."

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