Independence Rock was a well-known landmark among early American settlers who had little else by which to find their way.
The 136-foot tall stone rises up out of the otherwise flat Wyoming terrain making it hard to miss for the pioneers of the late 1800’s who were making their way west. The rock earned its name from the thought that trailblazers traveling West had to reach the rock before July 4th to avoid getting caught in potentially devastating winter weather. Travelers on their way to California and Oregon would often pass the boulder and inscribe their name into the wind-polished stone. This practice became so widespread that the rock was at one time dubbed, “The Register of the Desert.” While many of the names have smoothed and flaked off, a number of the original inscriptions remain to this day.