The Historic Mine Trail and Byway program was established by the Wyoming Legislature in 2005. The program was created for the purpose of designating and identifying historic mine locations and trails and byways linking historic mines with the state. Objectives of the program are to 1) provide a precise history of mineral development in Wyoming; 2) Interpret the role of mining and minerals in the development of Wyoming's economy; 3) Identify and describe Wyoming's mining and mineral development heritage.

The program originally operated under a commission created by legislation. During the 2009 Legislature, the program was moved to the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, Division of the State Historic Preservation Office Monuments and Markers Program. The Monuments and Markers program coordinator currently administers the Mine Byway program. The Monuments and Markers Advisory Committee also reviews nominations for the Mine Byway program.

The 2005 Legislature established the first Historic Mine Trail. This Trail links the gold mines located in South Pass City, Miners' Delight, and Atlantic City, to the uranium mines in the Crooks Gap and Gas Hills mining districts located in Fremont County, Wyoming.

The Trail as designated follows the route described below: Fremont County Road 479 beginning at its junction with WYO 28, to its junction with Fremont County Road 237; Fremont County Road 237 to its junction with old WYO 28; old WYO 28 to its junction with new WYO 28; WYO 28 to its junction with US 287; US 287/WYO 789 South (East) to Fremont County Road; Fremont County Road 5 north from Jeffrey City to its junction with WYO 136 and Dry Creek Road (BLM road); Dry Creek road northeast to junction with Natrona County Road 212; Natrona County Road 212 to its junction with US 20/26 at Waltman.

The intertwined stories of the development of three contiguous oilfields—Shannon (the first), Salt Creek (the largest), and Teapot Dome (the most famous)—are also the story of the growth and development of the city of Casper and the firm establishment of Wyoming‘s energy industry. Nationally these fields have further relevance: Salt Creek Oilfield launched Wyoming onto the national scene of energy producers, while Teapot Dome rocked the nation with a scandal near the magnitude of Watergate.

The official route of the Byway follows State Hwy 259 from I-25 to Midwest, State Hwy 387 to Edgerton, and State Hwy 387 to its intersection with I-25 at exit 227.

The early coal mines north of Sheridan are synonymous with the early settlement, economy, and culture of Sheridan County dating from the early 1890’s. Surface and underground mines tapping sub-bituminous coal seams up to 40 feet thick produced millions of tons of coal for railroad locomotives and power generation. By 1908 it was estimated that nearly 10,000 people lived between the Sheridan townsite and the Montana line in the mining communities of Dietz, Acme, Carneyville (later called Kleenburn), Monarch, and Kooi. These mines and associated communities represented the population center of the County from the early 1890’s through the late 1930’s, with several mines and communities remaining in use until the mid 1970’s.

The Black Diamond Trail is located on public roads and travels north of Sheridan, passing by Dietz, Acme, Carneyville, Monarch, and near Kooi. Along the Byway, there is still physical evidence of foundations and tailings associated with the mines and communities of Dietz, Kooi, and Carneyville. Several of the mines and communities have left more visible testaments to their existence, including mine entryways, a town water tower, Catholic church, and two cemeteries associated with the town of Monarch, and a remaining power plant and water tower at the former townsite of Acme.

Driving accross the scrubby, wind-swept, seemingly empty Green River Basin as it extends west of the town of Green River, few people are aware of the extensive roadways and bustling activity taking place 800-1600 feet below them in the trona mines. Fewer still know that this deposit of trona (also known as sodium sesquicarbonate) is the by far the largest and purest deposit in the world and that it supplies nearly all the United States' (and some other countries') soda ash needs. And fewer still understand the significance of this fact: the ore mines here are used to produce nearly every commodity in their lives as well as to control pollution in the air that they breathe.

The Trona Trail Byway can begin or end at Granger Stage Station, or at a pullout on U.S. 530. Visitors can access the trail from east- or westbound I-80 or northbound U.S. 530.