To the west of Torrington and just south of the small town of Guernsey is quite an amazing sight. Pioneers travelling west on the Oregon Trail would regularly stop here as it was a convenient day’s wagon ride (11 miles) beyond Fort Laramie. At Register Cliff they would carve their name and town of origin in the soft sandstone, and many of these carvings are well-preserved to this day.
To get here follow the sign-posted road across the North Platte River for about 2 miles (the last .5 being on gravel though not a problem for any car). A short trail leads from the parking area and takes you round the base of the cliff. The first names you come to are more recent “vandalism” though many date back to the nineteenth century. The genuine pioneer names are further on, mostly dating from the 1850s, and are protected by wire fencing. I found it so moving to read all the names and imagine who these people were and what brought them here on such a difficult and dangerous journey.
Please do open the photos for this tip so you can see just how well these names have been preserved.
Visiting the site is free and it is open year round, weather permitting, from sunrise to sunset.
This is one of two amazing historical sights in more or less the same spot, to the west of Torrington and just south of the small town of Guernsey.
In many places in Wyoming you’ll find memories of those who crossed the state following the Oregon Trail to a new life further west. Other trails too came this way – the Mormon Trail, the gold-rushers, and more. At this point the route through the river valley is quite narrow, so thousands of wagons followed the same path. The rock is soft, and thus all those wheels succeeded in wearing it down, in places to a depth of about four feet (1.3 metres).
Like Register Cliff this site is relatively undeveloped and you’re free to wander as you like, even to step down into the ruts themselves, which I confess surprised me. From the small parking lot you follow a short uphill trail (part of which is accessible by wheelchair). Climb down and stand in one of the ruts, and pause to think of all those thousands of pioneers who passed through here on their dangerous journey in search of a new and better life.
As with Register Cliff, this site is relatively undeveloped (though there are rest rooms in the parking area) and is open all year, weather permitting. You'll find it about 1 mile from Guernsey, half of it on decent gravel - fuller directions below.
Fort Laramie was established as a private fur trading fort in 1834 and became a significant stopping place for those following the Oregon Trail. Here they could rest and replenish their supplies, trade and share travellers’ tales. From 1849 onwards the Fort was in the hands of the military and was an important base during the Indian Wars of the 1850s and 1860s.
Today many of the buildings of that era have been restored. You can go inside many of them – the cavalry barracks, the colonel’s quarters, the bachelor officers’ quarters in “Old Bedlam”, the store and gaol house. Together they give a really good sense of what life in this remote outpost would have been like.
The Visitors’ Centre includes an interesting small museum with uniforms, weapons, and artefacts relating to the history of Fort Laramie in the 19th century western frontier. You can also pick up a free replica newspaper, the garrison Gazette.
We visited Fort Laramie as the third stop on our tour of the historical sites to the west of Torrington, but I think I’d recommend that you come here first if possible, if only because the information provided by the Visitors’ Centre is so comprehensive and covers all of this area, with lots of literature including a really good free leaflet on the Oregon Trail.
The grounds are open from dawn until dusk every day. The Fort itself and Visitors’ Centre is open daily, (apart from Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day). There’s a fee of $3 per person, which when we visited in late September was being collected on a loyalty basis. You can rent an audio tour for an additional $3.
We stayed at this hotel in September 2007. Everything there was very clean, the staff was all very...more
This motel makes a convenient base for visiting the surrounding area. It’s located at the southern...more
1555 Main Street, Torrington, WY, 82240
Good for: Solo
Deacons serves what we would call "country" cooking. Meat potatoes, vegetables. Lots of fried items. No thought to cholesterol. Decor was minimal. Service was good. Portions were average. I would probably eat elsewhere next time I am in town not because there is anything wrong with this place but for variety. They serve wine and beer.
Favorite Dish: I had the Beer Battered Halibut, which was average.
Although Deacon's falls under the description of "diner" - it is SO MUCH MORE! The ambience is simple, clean, American-style. It is an old place (AKA, Well-Established!) and they have a huge local following. There are a lot of old-timers who come here every day for breakfast.
They brew Starbucks coffee here, so if you're looking for your "chain coffee" fix, this is the place. (The closest actual Starbucks is in Scottsbluff!)
Deacon's doesn't just have breakfast! They also have a great lunch menu - including a few "unique" choices. Try the Portabelo Mushroom Burger - smothered in cheese with sundried tomatoes, pesto, etc. My vegetarian friend said it was "incredibly delicious" - quite the surprise lunch fare for such a traditionally "ranch" oriented place!
Their burgers are great too - real 100% Angus beef gets the rancher's approval!
Favorite Dish: Everything! Haven't had anything that was not good, here.
The Canton Dragon has been totally packed with people every time I've been there. I think we've gone there on nearly every trip I've made to Torrington! Sunday afternoons are always packed with locals partaking of the lunch buffet. The buffet has enough on it to satisfy pretty much any craving, even vegetarians. But, if you can't find anything you like in the buffet, there is a very good selection available off the menu.
Favorite Dish: Buffet! Their lo-mein is awesome, Mongolian Beef, Almond Shrimp..... Everything is great.
The Showtime Lounge is a sports bar with occasional live music and a small dance floor. It is attached to the Days Inn. There were some locals coming in after work when I was there mostly to watch sports, drink and unwind. They all knew both girls tending bar and seemed to know each other. Kind of a neighborhood place. It was "Happy Hour" so I only paid $1 each for fairly strong rum and cokes. They were playing 70s Rock and Roll which I liked too. The older girl was kinda cute.
Dress Code: Jeans and T-shirts were the norm. I had a collared shirt on so I was the best dressed guy in the place.