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South Pass City State Historic Site

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About Our Site - South Pass City Historic Site


South Pass City has a variety of interesting and educational activities for visitors throughout the summer. When the presence of volunteer staff permits, not only can you walk through each of the 17 restored and exhibited original structures, you can enjoy an ice cold sarsaparilla and a game of billiards on a restored 1860s period table, as well as hear the ring of a hammer on steel when the blacksmith shapes hot iron. Each day, one can shop in the historic Smith-Sherlock General Store or pan for gold in the clear waters of Willow Creek. In the Interpretive Center, you can also learn about other gold producing methods that have been used around South Pass City throughout its history.

For folks with as much interest in nature as history, South Pass City is home to a three-mile Volksmarch Trail where you can enjoy viewing some of the area's wide array of wildlife. mule deer, antelope, moose and beaver are just a few of the animals that can be seen. For birders, many species call this area home at different times of the year, including mountain blue birds, finches, hawks and eagles. Anglers will enjoy blue ribbon fishing for brook, rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout in many of the area's streams and lakes.

spcMill-at-Night2-1South Pass City Mills at Night

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail also passes through town. Popular among serious hikers and mountain bikers, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail runs the length of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico. Each year, numerous bikers and hikers utilizing this trail visit the site. Many use the general delivery at the General Store's post office for re-supply, and enjoy a tour through town before continuing on their journey.

South Pass City Gold Rush Days continues to evolve, retains popularity



As a variety of programs have expanded throughout the Wyoming State Park and Historic Site system in recent years, some of the oldest events have proven to be as popular as ever.

One such event is South Pass City State Historic Site’s Gold Rush Days. Begun in 2001 by then-Superintendent Tom Lindmier, Gold Rush Days has been held every year since except during the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic.

This year’s event will be held July 8-9, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on both days. There is a special admission price of $5.

Gold Rush Days transports the visitor back in time to the late 1800s where activities like gold panning, Carissa Mine tours and South Pass City itself provide a glimpse of the olden days.

A few staples of the event like the vintage base ball (yes, two words) tournament and anvil blast are still featured and remain highly popular.

The vintage base ball tournament pits teams from local communities – Hudson, South Pass City, Riverton and Lander – using 1906 rules, equipment and uniforms. Try wearing a heavy wool uniform in the searing July heat. You won’t see any millionaire prima donnas in this base ball (again, 1906 spelling) tournament but it still proves to be entertaining.

The anvil blast is another highly popular part of Gold Rush Days and happens every hour on the hour.

So, what exactly is an anvil blast? A celebratory event from the 1880s and 1890s, two anvils are placed upside down on top of each other. A foundry hole in an anvil is filled with gun powder. The gun powder is ignited using a dynamite fuse and the resulting explosion sends an anvil several stories into the air making a sound much like a bell.

“We’d probably get hung if we ever discontinued the anvil blast,” current Superintendent Joe Ellis said.

Gold Rush Days has become a popular regional event with approximately 80 percent of those attending coming from not only Lander and Riverton but Rock Springs, Green River, Pinedale and Casper.

“We’ve had to evolve some so we didn’t get stagnant,” Ellis said. “We’ve incorporated some historic reenactments and activities that center around immigrant trails and mining.”

Part of Gold Rush Days evolution was changing the date of the event. During the early years, the celebration was held in late July. It was decided to move the event to the first weekend after the Fourth of July so as not to compete with Cheyenne Frontier Days. That move has proven to be beneficial, according to Ellis.

This year, in addition to a blacksmith, reenactors from around the country will provide exhibitions of the pony express, pack mules trips and Conestoga wagons. Additionally, a Shoshone basket maker from Nevada will show his skills.

“We try to bring in something new every couple of years,” Ellis said.

In addition, to the historical and educational offerings, Gold Rush Days will have six local bands and food vendors on hand.

What began as an occasion to showcase a vintage base ball tournament has blossomed into a family-friendly, fun, educational event that basically has something for everyone.

South Pass City is located 37 miles southwest of Lander on Hwy. 28.--




Site Status


South Pass City buildings and exhibits are open seasonally from May 25 to October 19, everyday 10am to 5pm. The grounds are open, weather permitting, sunrise to sunset. Please visit our hours of operation prior to your visit.


Go to southpasscity.org for the most up-to-date information.




Historic Buildings and Exhibits:

  • May 25 to October 19: Open daily, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Closed October 20 to May 24

Grounds and Trails:

Open sunrise to sunset, year-round, weather permitting.



Phone Number







 South Pass City Historic Site
 125 South Pass Main St
 South Pass City, WY 82520

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