Theodore Roosevelt’s Yellowstone Camping Trip #ThisWeekInWYHistory

In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt rode 65-miles from Laramie to Cheyenne as part of a tour of the West.

(Gillette, Wyo.) While Wyoming has the distinction of being the one of the least populated states in the country, it has nonetheless enjoyed visits by every single president, except two, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison.

Among the most famous visits was that of Theodore Roosevelt, who camped in Yellowstone for over two weeks in 1903.

The time spent in Yellowstone was part of a larger, 25-state tour that took him about 14,000 miles across the country, stopping in places throughout the western United States.

On April 16, Roosevelt reported back to a conservationist in the Department of Agriculture on the wide variety of game in the park, including the enormous herds of elk he witnessed.

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On April 24, the president dedicated a new arched gateway to the park and then boarded a train east toward Omaha, Nebraska. He stopped in Newcastle, Wyoming, on the way to give a speech the next day.

After a jaunt toward the east, the president made his way west again and would stop in Evanston in late May, drawing a crowd of 7,000 people from Wyoming and surrounding states. Roosevelt also stopped in Laramie the next day, speaking to a few thousand people on the campus of the University of Wyoming.

Roosevelt then traveled the 65 miles to Cheyenne, all on horseback. He stayed in Cheyenne until June 2, before boarding a train back to Washington, D.C.

It has been suggested that Roosevelt’s choice to spend nearly three weeks in Wyoming reflected not only an affinity for the state but a love of conservation efforts, which were in their conceptual infancy at the time.

Originally from New Mexico, Killough began his career writing freelance for a weekly magazine in Albuquerque while completing his undergraduate degree. In addition to reporting on uranium mining in western New Mexico, he spent three years reporting in western North Dakota during the height of the oil boom. He can be reached at kevin@county17.com or 701-641-6603.