OWING to the extremely rugged topography of many parts of Wyoming, the important transportation lines parallel each other along three main routes, spreading fanshape from Cheyenne, in the southeastern corner of the State, across the southern, central, central- to-northern, and northeastern parts.
Twenty-five numbered highways, 13 of them Federal, spread a network over the State which penetrates the more remote regions, including the national forests and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Although the highways skirt or cross the national forests, there is much virgin territory in these areas that can be reached only by pack horse or on foot. Main highways parallel all important railway systems.
For many years Wyoming was merely a link in a transcontinental route over which hundreds of thousands passed on their way to the Oregon country, to California, or to Salt Lake Valley. Therefore, whatever of importance occurred in the early days relative to transportation in the area that later became Wyoming was due in some way to forces outside of the present boundaries of the State. The State's history has been colored by every major transportation movement of the central West. In fact, the formation of the Wyoming Territory came as the direct result of the construction of the first transcontinental railway.
From 1841 to 1845 the Oregon emigration was extremely heavy through central Wyoming. The Mormon migration followed in 1847. At one time, approximately 16,000 Mormons plodded across Wyoming in the largest single migration in the history of the country. Early in 1850, following the discovery of gold in California, some 60,000 gold seekers feverishly pushed their way over the Government Trail spanning Wyoming.
One of the chief problems of the first explorers and the early trappers and traders in Wyoming was that of transportation. It was with