Togwotee (pronounced "TOE-go-tee") Pass lies at the head of the Wind River, astride the Great Divide. This 9,658-foot pass was an ancient travel route for the Tukudika people, who lived among these high, rugged peaks and migrated on foot for thousands of years. Togwotee of the Tukudika
The Tukudiaka were a branch of the Shoshone people known as "Sheep Eaters" for their reliance on the bighorn sheep of the high mountains. They were skilled mountain dwellers, and remained in the mountains after the introduction of the horse.
Among the Tukudika lived a particular man, Togwotee, whose name is said to mean "lance thrower" in the Shoshone language. He was known as an expert marksman and a powerful shaman. Though he spent his youth among the mountains, he later joined the Plains Shoshone on the Wind River Reservation.
An Important Link
In 1873, Togwotee led a mapping expedition under the command of Captain William A. Jones of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, through the pass. The expedition was part of a larger military defense survey.
Jones was impressed with the pass, and with the striking view of the Teton Range. In his report from the expedition, he predicted that the pass would become an important link for commerce between the Atlantic states and the American West.
years after leading Captain Jones through Togwotee Pass, Togwotee led President Chester Arthur from Fort Washakie (now on the Wind River Reservation) through the newly declared Yellowstone National Park.