The Legend of Devil's Gate
American Indian legend says a powerful evil spirit in the form of a tremendous beast with enormous tusks ravaged the Sweetwater Valley, preventing the Indians from hunting and camping. A holy man told the tribes that the Great Spirit wanted them to destroy the beast. The Indians launched an attack from the mountain passes and ravines, shooting countless arrows into the evil monster. Enraged, the beast with a mighty upward thrust of its tusks, ripped a gap in the mountain and disappeared, never to be seen again.
Robert L. Munkees, "Independence Rock and Devil's Gate" in Annals of Wyoming, April 1968.
Fr. Pierre-Jean DeSmet, S.J., 1841
"...Travelers have named this spot the Devil's Entrance (Devil's Gate). In my opinion they should have rather called it Heaven's Avenue."
Goldfish 49'er, J.G. Bruff, wrote:
"...some of the boys clambered up the rock on the north side of the Gate...where they fired pistols and threw down rocks, pleased with the reverberation, which was great. I made a careful sketch of this remarkable gorge."
The Cleft in the Rock
Devil's Gate is a 370-foot high, 1,500-foot long fissure carved over centuries by the Sweetwater River. It was a major landmark on the Oregon Trail...a
pleasant change for weary travelers on the four day trek across the rough, dry country from the North Platte River.