Pathfinder Dam and Fremont Canyon

Blast from the Past!

This post was originally posted on August 18, 2010 during our western U.S. vacation. I am bringing it forward as a “blast from the past” post to fit in closer sequence to new posts as I work through photos from that trip..

On July 13, we were camped at a site on the shore of Pathfinder Reservoir, south of Casper. We planned to take a short drive and then spend the rest of the day relaxing and reading.

Pathfinder Reservoir, Pathfinder Dam and Fremont Canyon all are all named for John Charles Frémont – the 19th century military officer, explorer and political candidate. Frémont was known as “The Pathfinder.”

Pathfinder Dam and Fremont Canyon:

Fremont Canyon, North Platte River below Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, Wyoming, July 13, 2010

The flow during the summer is usually much lower than this due to drawdown for irrigation and power production.  Exceptional rainfall combined with good winter snowpack had resulted in almost all reservoirs along the having higher levels that had been seen for several years.  Some, in fact, had campgrounds that were closed due to flooding.

Fremont Canyon, North Platte River below Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, Wyoming, July 13, 2010

Looking downstream, the bridge below us is an old footbridge:

Fremont Canyon, North Platte River below Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, Wyoming, July 13, 2010

A closer view of the footbridge and the canyon:

Fremont Canyon, North Platte River below Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, Wyoming, July 13, 2010

A view from the bridge:

Fremont Canyon, North Platte River below Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, Wyoming, July 13, 2010

We found a couple more locations downstream where we could view the canyon:

Fremont Canyon, North Platte River below Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, Wyoming, July 13, 2010

Fremont Canyon, North Platte River below Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, Wyoming, July 13, 2010

After our drive, we went back to the camper.  While we were gone the wind had picked up and, with the heat, it very uncomfortable sitting outside.  There was no power at the campground and we didn’t want to run the generator, so we decided to forfeit on day’s camp fee and move on down the road (see Wind Blown).


From Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office:

The Pathfinder Dam, is a masonry arch dam which completely blocks, from bedrock to canyon rim, the course of the North Platte River. Construction of the dam was completed in 1909. Fashioned from huge blocks of granite, quarried nearby from the same formation into which the river had trenched its canyon course, the dam stands 214 feet high, has a crest length which reaches to 432 feet, and tapers from a base 97 feet wide to a top which is no more than 11 feet in width. The building of Pathfinder Dam was a successful testing of the late nineteenth century concept of arid lands reclamation in the western United States. The reservoir basin had a shore line greater than 75 miles in extent and afforded opportunity for storage of more than one million acre feet of irrigation and industrial water to previously arid lands.

blast from the past, history, lake, landscape, parks, photography, river, stream, Travel Photos, wyoming
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