Not just another landmark, Connor Battlefield Historic Site is a park and campground in the tiny town of Ranchester, Wyoming. This fascinating place was the site of an 1865 battle where General Patrick Connor attacked an Arapahoe camp. What ensued was a bloody, hard fought battle lasting several days. Finally, Connor and his men were forced to retreat. This fight became known as the Battle of Tongue River.
Vehicles can drive into the park from the Gillette Street southern entrance. Pedestrians can enter the park via the long suspension footbridge at the north entrance on Gillette Street.
The bridge moved as we walked, and the dogs had never crossed anything like it. It gave a small heave with every step, and the Tongue River rushed along mere feet below it. The girls were understandably nervous about crossing it, but after some coaxing and assurance that it was perfectly safe they bravely made it into the park.
There was a lot of room to sniff and explore. The girls were immediately interested in a large buffalo statue located in the park's small playground.
They seemed captivated by the rhythmic Tongue River that nearly surrounds Connor Battlefield Park. There were places along to river to fish, go inner tubing, or even swim (on a warmer day). Rope swings hung from the trees over parts of the river. Maggie would have happily gone for a dip if the sun had been shining during our visit.
Informational signs told the story of the battle that once took place here; it was eerie to imagine. A large commemorative monument stood near the center of the park. It was a tall stone pyramid with an American flag flying from its top.
This park is also home to the start of the Tongue River Water Trail. It's an ideal launching point for non-motorized water crafts of all kinds (including inner tubes) to further explore the Tongue River. The girls enjoyed looking out over the water flowing by.
There were plenty of picnic tables and doggy waste stations throughout the park for our convenience. This place also offered abundant access to the river and overnight camping for a small fee.
When it was time to leave, Maggie was nervous about traversing the bridge that had moved under our feet. However, she courageously made it back across with no problem.
This interesting little park is home to a notable piece of the past. It's accessible from both Interstate 90 and Highway 14, hidden in a tiny town in northern Wyoming. It's entirely too easy to overlook this place but we were glad we had stopped. This little wooded park rich in history is certainly worth a visit.