Colter's Hell
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member brwhiz
N 44° 30.695 W 109° 06.968
12T E 649734 N 4930421
This Wyoming Historical Marker is located on the north side of US Highway 14/16/20 several miles west of Cody, Wyoming.
Waymark Code: WMFB4M
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 09/22/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member muddawber
Views: 11

Colter's Hell

John Colter, veteran of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, notably self-sufficient mountain man and indefatigable explorer, was the first white man known to have reconnoitered this locale. In 1807, possibly traveling alone but probably escorted by Crow guides, he crossed the Stinking Water (Shoshone River) via a major Indian-trail ford located about a mile down-stream from this observation point. Here, extending along both sides of the river, he discovered an active geyser district. Steam mixed with sulfur fumes and shooting flames escaped through vents in the valley floor, subterranean rumblings were ominously audible. Although mineralized hot springs continue to flow along the river's edge, the eruptions Colter watched are now marked only by cones of parched stone.

This was primarily Shoshone and Crow country but other Indians came to the area. Particularly Bannocks and Nez Perce', journeying eastward over the mountains to hunt the plains buffalo, tarried to test the heralded medicinal values of these "stinking waters" baths. Ranged along benchlands to the east and north are numerous tepee rings, evidence of former Indian encampments. Heart Mountain, famous landmark and geological oddity, is conspicuous on the northern horizon.

Honoring a respected predecessor, mountain men of the 1820's-1830's fur trade heyday named this place Colter's Hell. Later, early-day officials of Yellowstone Park applied that name to the Park's geyser area--thereby causing a degree of historic confusion. The true Colter's Hell is here in view.

Marker Name: Colter's Hell

Marker Type: Rural Roadside

Group Responsible for Placement: Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office

Marker Number: PA0004.92

Addtional Information: Not listed

Date Dedicated: Not listed

Web link(s) for additional information: Not listed

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