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  This almost imperceptible crest in the Rocky Mountain chain is the most significant site on theSouth Pass in background westward emigrant trails. Here, the emigrants crossed the Continental Divide, moving from the drainage basin of the Atlantic Ocean to that of the Pacific Ocean. As they moved over South Pass, they could legitimately say that they had entered the Oregon Territory.
South Pass was certainly known to the native inhabitants of this region for centuries. Nonetheless, its "discovery" is almost always attributed to the Astorians of 1812 who, under the leadership of Robert Stuart, crossed here as they headed east with dispatches for John Jacob Astor. Twelve years later, it was rediscovered by a party of fur trappers including Jedediah Smith and Thomas Fitzpatrick. Captain Benjamin Bonneville took the first wagons over the summit in 1832. Ten years later, Lt. John Charles Frèmont set the stage for the next year’s great migration by announcing that the pass could be crossed without any "toilsome ascents." In the years that followed, nearly everyDrawing of South Pass diarist of the great trek recorded the exhilaration of crossing South Pass.
Two markers are on the summit. The one, a granite boulder, was erected in June 1906 by Ezra Meeker, an 1852 emigrant who traveled the route from west to east in 1906, to mark the "Old Oregon Trail." The other marker is dedicated to Narcissa Prentiss Whitman and Eliza Hart Spalding, the first white women to cross South Pass which they did on July 4, 1836. This marker was inscribed and erected by Captain H. G. Nickerson, president of the Oregon Trail Commission of Wyoming, in 1916. Nickerson recorded that it took him two days to inscribe the 80 letters.
Nearby is the old gold mining town of South Pass City. A state historic park, South Pass City is unrelated to the emigration.

Public (BLM)

Fremont County, Wyoming. T27N/R101W.
The BLM has established a wonderful interpretive overlook of South Pass on State Route 28, BLM interpretive lookoutapproximately 42 miles southwest of Lander. To reach the pass, drive east from here on the Oregon Buttes road for approximately 3.5 miles and then south for about one mile on the old Oregon Trail.

National Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
This is a wide and flat summit of a long and gradually ascending plateau, with low ridges and hills on both sides, and a wide sage and grass covered saddle between. In spite of an abandoned railroad grade, a diversion ditch, and the physical evidence of an AT&T buried cable, this site has an exceptional historic character and should be protected from any additional visual intrusions. The site is a National Historic Landmark.

Listen to Todd Guenther, local historian and director of Lander Pioneer Museum speak about South Pass.

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