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The Platte River

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  • date May 3, 2023
The Platte River

The Platte River is a feature we have effortless access to right here in Casper and is one of the most cherished sites in Central Wyoming. About 310 miles of the waterway pass through Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. The river is almost 990 miles long when combined with the North Platte, which is our segment. It is a river that flows directly into the Missouri River, which originates in the Mississippi River.

The river rises from the melting of mountain ice and flows to Nebraska, where it is used for irrigation. Due to this and evaporation, the Platte would dry up if it weren’t for the linked tributaries, the Loup and Elkhorn Rivers, and the Salt Creek. The river is quite shallow for most of its course. The body of water is frequently described as being “too thick to drink, too thin to plow,” and “a mile wide at the mouth, but only six inches deep.”

In the 1800s, the route was an honorable mention for sand-bar jams. Francis Parkman traveled through the North Platte in 1846 and nook note of 11 boats traveling near him. He wrote that while traveling this section of the river, “Fifty times a day the boats had been aground, indeed; those who navigate the Platte invariably spend half their time upon sand-bars.” In the 1850s, many Native American tribes were creating treaties; one of the most notable being the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. This defined territory for the

Lakota north of the North Platte, west of the Missouri, and east of the Big Horns. The Crow were west of the crest of the Big Horn Mountains, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho were between the North Platte and Arkansas rivers, now eastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming.

Now, the river is a source for aquatic activities of all kinds to locals and visitors alike. You can see people fishing, canoeing, paddleboarding, and floating in the river during the warmer months. In addition, we have 11 miles of riverside paths that are great for biking, walking, and other activities. There are numerous river access locations along these pathways, so you may take in the current.

Along the North Platte River outside of Casper, tourists go fly-fishing at Pathfinder, white-water rafting near North Gate Canyon, hiking through the Medicine Bow National Forest close to the Colorado border, and experience the Saratoga Hot Springs. Despite the fact that you may partake in modernized activities all along the watercourse, the region is home to some of the best-preserved areas in the country. Keep an eye out the next time you go exploring; you never know when you’ll find a piece of history.

Casper Area Convention And Visitors Bureau. (n.d.). North Platte River, Casper, WY: Fishing, canoeing & kayaking. Visit Casper. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://www.visitcasper.com/things-to-do/water-activities/north-platte-river/

New World Encyclopedia . (n.d.). Platte River. Visit the main page. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Platte_River

Wyoming Historical Society. (n.d.). The North Platte River Basin: A natural history. WyoHistory.org. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/north-platte-river-basin

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