Names Hill is one of three prominent sites in Wyoming where travelers inscribed their names into stone along the emigrant trails. The other sites are Register Cliff and Independence Rock. After crossing a 40 miles stretch of waterless desert, wagon trains would stop and camp near the Green River crossing, providing an opportunity for travelers to inscribe their names into the soft limestone.
Parting of the Ways
Names Hill is located along the Sublette-Greenwood Cutoff, a short cut that ran due west from the Little Sandy River and bypassed part of the main emigrant trail and Fort Bridger. The popularity of this route increased in the late 1840s, as people became more willing to risk crossing the desert to save about 46 miles of travel.
Historians believe the earliest writings at Names Hill were made by mountain men crossing the Green River on their way to trap beaver in the Rocky Mountains. These inscriptions date back to 1822, making them the oldest pioneer inscriptions in Wyoming. The names of J.J. Shay - 1825 and Twig - 1832 are testimony of the early day explorers. Names Hill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
One of the most famous inscriptions at Names Hill is that of mountain man Jim Bridger, whose mark was left here in 1844. His signature is a point of controversy for many historians, as he reportedly did not know how to read or write. Some believe that Bridger many have known enough to write his own name, while others believe that he had a traveling companion inscribe it for him.