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.
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.
GOLD RUSH DAYS-- The event celebrates the life and the heritage of the Sweetwater Mining District by presenting many of the activities historic to the area. South Pass City's Goldbricks take on area teams in a vintage baseball tournament, which features turn of the century period equipment, uniforms and rules. Hand drillers pit muscle and steel against solid granite as they recall a time before the advent of pneumatic drills. Witness in amazement as brawny men try to out-drill one another on a two-ton block of granite, in both single and double jacking events.
ONGOING PROJECTS-- The staff at South Pass City and Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources is continually working to restore the remainder of the original buildings and improve existing exhibits. In 2002, thanks to funding generated from the fees at Wyoming's State Parks & Historic Sites, work began on the Sherlock House. Exhibit work will be completed for the 2003 season. The building was the residence of Will and Mame Sherlock. Will was the son of another of South Pass City's leading ladies, Janet Sherlock- Smith. Mrs. Sherlock-Smith owned the South Pass Hotel and the Smith-Sherlock General Store, and was one of the town's most prominent citizens for over 50 years. The Carissa Mine, which sits adjacent to south Pass City was acquired in 2004.
THE SOUTH PASS AREA-- OREGON/CALIFORNIA/MORMON TRAILS-- These historic emigrant roads crossed over the famed South Pass only eight miles from what was to become Wyoming's only significant gold-producing area. The first large emigration over the Pass occurred in 1843, some 24 years before gold was discovered at South Pass City, when over 1,000 people made the arduous 2,000-mile, six-month journey. Thirteen miles southeast of town marks the location of one of the most disastrous events along the Mormon Trail. Encumbered by early winter storms and severe temperatures, the exhausted and starving emigrants of the Willie Handcart Company found themselves snowbound on Rock Creek. Thirteen members of the company perished in a single night and were buried in a mass grave. Out of the 404 persons that began the migration, only 327 survivors reached Salt Lake City on November 9, 1856 with their rescue party.