Carbon County owes much of its early history to the Union Pacific Railroad. The railroad gave names to unnamed places as it laid tracks westward over the Rocky Mountains that would eventually become the Trans-Continental Railroad. Well ahead of those tracks were Army surveyors laying out the route and marking the waterholes the great steam-locomotives would need to fill their empty tanks. When General Grenville Dodges crew discovered a clear alkali-free spring, General John A. Rawlins made the comment, If anything is ever named after me, I hope it will be a spring of water. Shortly after that Dodge named this tiny oasis Rawlins Springs. The Rawlins KOA Kampground is a perfect "home base" in which to explore this rich historical region. Take a trip to the old Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow. Travel to the Hobo Hot Springs in Saratoga. Test your Fly Fishing skills at the World Famous Miracle Mile on the Platte River. Take a scenic drive to see "Aspen Alley" - beautiful any time of year! See more attractions at: http://www.wyomingcarboncounty.com/townpages/rawlins/index.htm
The Carbon County Museums are a great way to learn about the area! Make Rawlins KOA your "home base" and travel to the various area museums for a Western History lesson! Permanent collection on the Union Pacific Railroad, pioneers, residents and outlaws, Native Americans, agriculture, the only Thomas Edison exhibit in Wyoming and much more! Website: http://www.carboncountymuseum.org/ Quick Fact Encampment has a curiosity for the books. The two-story outhouse located at the Grand Encampment Museum was built for deep snow plumbing. To overcome the problem of deep drifting snows this andother similar outhouses were erected high atop a base of cribbed up logs approached by wooden steps leading up five or six feet.
Located at the northern fringe of Rawlins, this magnificent geologic formation attracts scientists from all parts of the globe. Come see 500,000 years of rock layers clearly visible!
Built in 1901 and housed prisoners until 1981 when they were transferred to the new penitentiary south of Rawlins. Built of local rock and sandstone the outside architecture is reminiscent of a castle but is nothing of the sort inside. The cell blocks have changed since 1901 and hot water was not placed into the cells until 1978. Guided tours available daily May through September. See the Frontier Prison online for further information.
Nationally designated Rawlins historic district is rich with turn-of-the-century architecture. Enjoy the downtown by taking the 60 to 90 minute leisure walking tour. Map can be picked up at the KOA Front Desk. The walk features 31 historic buildings, hand-painted murals and colorful local history.
Enjoy the 174 mile or 4 hour loop of scenic sites like Sinclair (a small town that evolved around the Sinclair Oil Refinery in the mid-1930s), Seminoe State Park (enjoy fishing and water sports in the largest reservoir in the state park system), Seminoe to Alcova (designated as one of only three "National Back Country Byways" in Wyoming, dont forget your binoculars for great wildlife viewing), Independence Rock (a favorite oasis for traversing wagon trains, appropriately christened the "Register of the Desert"), Devils Gate (a noted landmark that consists of a huge rock split with the Sweetwater River running through it), Great Divide Basin (also called the "Separation Flats" bounded on both the north and the south by the Continental Divide), Red Desert (a popular site for rockhounding), and Rawlins Uplift (500,000 years of rock layers). An enjoyable 205 mile or 5 hour loop of scenic views like the Overland Trail, Little Snake River Valley (an authentic, unspoiled community that defines the "Old West"), Butch Cassidys Wild Bunch, Baggs, Cassidy House, Savery (home to the Little Snake River Museum and the cabin of mountain man Jim Baker), Aspen Alley (a stunning grove of mature Aspen trees), Sierra Madre Country, Encampment/Riverside area (first white men were explorers and trappers), Grand Encampment Museum and Mining Town, Platte Valley and Saratoga, Fort Steele Historic Site (provided protection for Union Pacific Railroad construction workers from Indian raiders) and Sinclair.
A scenic 225 mile or 5.2 hour loop of views including Sinclair, Fort Steele Historic Site, Platte River Valley, Saratoga (which includes attractions like the Saratoga Museum, Saratoga Municipal Hot Springs Pool, Saratoga Lake and North Platte River), National Scenic Byway (attractions like Snowy Range Ski Area, Lake Marie, and Libby Flats Observation Area), Overland Trail, Laramie, Como Bluff (site of the famous "Dinosaur Graveyard), Medicine Bow (attractions include Medicine Bow Museum and The Virginian Hotel), worlds largest wind turbine, and Hanna.
On any summer evening in July, 1853 hundreds of emigrants could be found swarming all over Independence Rock, chiseling messages to others following behind. Many of the emigrants arrived here on the fourth of July, and that was cause for celebration. Pies were baked and revelry was shared. Please visit and see our names carved in the rock. (45 minute drive from the Kampground).
Experience a handcart trek much like the one pioneers endured over 150 years ago. Visit the Mormon Handcart Visitors' Center and view exhibits recording the tragic circumstances of two handcart companies. (45 minute drive from the Kampground). Website: http://lds.org/placestovisit/eng/historical-sites/mormon-handcart-historic-site