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The Kemmerer Destination is located in the state of Wyoming, bordering Utah and Idaho. Cities in the region include the namesake of the destination, Kemmerer, as well as South Pass City, Mckinnon, Lyman, Boulder, Farson, and Atlantic City, among others. Various attractions can be found in the Kemmerer Destination. Fossil Butte National Monument is one such draw in the region, specifically located 15 miles west of Kemmerer, Wyoming. At the park, one can find a collection of plant and animal fossils that are estimated to be 34 to 56 million years ago.[4] Some of the other attractions that can be found near Kemmerer are the J.C. Penny House Museum, Ham's Fork River, and various hikes.[3] If those visiting the area are hoping to participate in warm weather activities, it is recommended they visit from early July to mid-August. Temperatures in the city vary throughout the year from 11°F to 81°F on average.[6]

What Kemmerer is known for

Wyoming is where one can find the Kemmerer Destination, specifically next to the state's border with Utah. Nestled in Uinta County, Wyoming, the namesake of the destination, Kemmerer, is a town with a century-long history that intertwines coal mining, railroads, bootlegging, and historic trails. Its roots trace back to 1897 when Patrick Quealy, together with his partner and investor Mahlon Kemmerer, orchestrated the establishment of the City of Kemmerer. The partnership between Quealy and Kemmerer spearheaded the progression of numerous underground coal mines in Frontier and Kemmerer. With a legacy lasting from the late 1890s to the 1960s, Kemmerer and its surrounding region grew on the development of active mines.[1]

Kemmerer has a population of 2,458 people, as of 2023. Ranked as the 25th largest city in Wyoming and the 6,886th largest in the United States. Currently, Kemmerer demonstrates a fairly modest growth rate of 0.74% annually. Since the last census in 2020, the population has experienced a 2.25% increase from 2,404 residents. Occupying an area spanning 8 miles, the city boasts a population density of 315 individuals per square mile. In terms of racial composition, the city is predominantly White, accounting for 96.56% of the population, followed by individuals of two or more races (1.7%), Asian (0.69%), other races (0.54%), Native American (0.44%), and Black or African American (0.07%).[2]

Kemmerer, Wyoming, and its surrounding areas offer a variety of attractions for visitors to explore. One notable activity is fossil hunting in the remnants of Fossil Lake, a lake that existed over fifty-two million years ago. With the assistance of commercial fossil quarries in town, visitors can use tools to search for fossils in the Green River Formation rocks. Common fossils can be taken home as souvenirs, while relatively rare finds remain at the quarry. Another experience near Kemmerer is fishing in the Ham's Fork River, which runs through the town. Whether experienced or a beginner, the river offers fishing opportunities year-round, and a place called Solitary Angler can provide fishing guides and equipment. Lions Club Community Park and its amenities, such as picnic tables and playgrounds, are often used for picnics. The J.C. Penny House Museum and the Kemmerer Mother Store are open to the public as well. J.C. Penny began his business in Kemmerer, and visitors can witness original store features and artifacts at the Mother Store which is still in operation. The J.C. Penny house, now a historical building, can offer a glimpse into the past but is only open during the summer.[3]

Fossil Butte National Monument is another attraction in the region, situated just 15 miles west of Kemmerer, Wyoming. It revolves around a collection of animal and plant fossils dating back to the Eocene Epoch, approximately 56 to 34 million years ago. These fossils are closely associated with Fossil Lake, the smallest of the three great lakes that once encompassed parts of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. The other two lakes were Lake Gosiute and Lake Uinta. Established as a national monument on October 23rd, 1972, Fossil Butte National Monument serves as a place for the paleontological record of Cenozoic aquatic communities. Enclosed within the 50-million-year-old Green River Formation, which is an ancient lake bed, the monument safeguards a diverse array of fossils. These include fish, alligators, bats, turtles, an unknown horse-sized mammal, insects, and numerous plant and animal species.[4]


The Kemmerer Destination is located primarily in the state of Wyoming. Aside from Utah, Idaho is the only other state to border the region; however, the area is relatively close to Colorado as well. In the destination, there are various cities that can be visited, including Boulder, Farson, Atlantic City, South Pass City, Mckinnon, Lyman, and Kemmerer, the latter of which is the namesake of the destination.

Kemmerer, Wyoming, reportedly experiences distinct seasons with warm, dry summers and freezing, snowy winters. During the summer months, the weather is characterized as generally pleasant, with warm temperatures, dry conditions, and mostly clear skies. The warm season spans approximately 3.1 months, from June 11th to September 13th, with average daily highs above 70°F. July is typically the hottest month, reaching an average high of 80°F and a low of 50°F. In contrast, the winter season lasts for around 3.5 months, from November 20th to March 6th, bringing freezing temperatures, snowfall, windy conditions, and partly cloudy skies. January marks the coldest month in Kemmerer, with an average low of 11°F and a high of 27°F. Throughout the year, the temperature variation ranges from 11°F to 81°F, rarely dropping below -4°F or surpassing 88°F.[6] 

Fossil Butte National Monument is located in a region of Wyoming that was once characterized by a sub-tropical lake ecosystem during the Eocene epoch. This area was part of the Green River Lake System, which consisted of three ancient lakes: Fossil Lake, Lake Gosiute, and Lake Uinta. These lakes spanned across portions of southwestern Wyoming, northeastern Utah, and northwestern Colorado. Fossil Butte itself is a remnant of the deposits left behind by Fossil Lake, which stretched approximately 40 to 50 miles in length and 20 miles in width. Throughout its existence of two million years, the size of the lake varied. The national monument encompasses 13 square miles (8,198 acres) of the 900-square-mile (595,200 acres) ancient lake. The focal point of fossil excavation lies within the sedimentary layers of the Green River Formation, which originated from the ancient lake. Additionally, a significant portion of the Wasatch Formation, consisting of river and stream sediments, can be found within the monument. The Wasatch Formation represents the ecosystem surrounding the lake and contains fossilized teeth and bone fragments of Eocene mammals, including early primates and horses.[4]

Wildlife can be found throughout the Fossil Butte National Monument, offering tourists opportunities to observe various mammal species. During a summer visit, the average visitor is likely to encounter American pronghorn, mule deer, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, least chipmunks, and Richardson ground squirrels. Forty-four mammal species have been recorded in the monument, with the majority being fairly small and active primarily at night. Many of these mammals inhabit isolated habitats or exhibit extreme wariness of humans, making them rarely seen. Some mule deer may reside in the monument year-round, while others migrate for the winter in late fall. Pronghorn, a species known for their speed, can be found in the monument from late spring through late fall or early winter before migrating to wintering areas outside the monument as snow accumulates. Elk, on the other hand, are occasionally seen in summer but are more common in late fall and winter. In recent years, sizable herds of elk have been observed on the western and southern slopes of Fossil Butte and Cundick Ridge during winter. Additionally, a few moose can usually be found on or near the monument throughout the year.[7]


Kemmerer, Wyoming, has a history that traces back to the discovery of coal by explorer John C. Frémont in 1843. The town's development gained momentum when the Union Pacific Coal Company opened the first underground mine in 1881, coinciding with the construction of the Oregon Short Line Railroad. In 1897, Patrick J. Quealy, then vice-president of the Kemmerer Coal Company, established Kemmerer as an independent town located south of the original townsite. The town and the company were named after Quealy's financial supporter, Mahlon S. Kemmerer, a prominent Pennsylvania "coal magnate." Over the years, the coal operations in Kemmerer underwent transitions, converting to strip mining in 1950 and becoming the "world's largest open pit coal mine." The mine is still operational today, producing around five million tons of coal annually. Quealy played a relatively pivotal role in Kemmerer's growth, selling lots instead of leasing them, which allowed for the establishment of independent businesses. Notably, in 1902, the J.C. Penney company store was founded in Kemmerer. The town also saw the establishment of banks, with the First National Bank being founded in 1900 and Kemmerer Savings Bank in 1909.[8]

In Fremont County, Wyoming, Atlantic City—another city in the destination—emerges as a census-designated place (CDP). With a population of 37 residents recorded during the 2010 census, this community runs off a mining settlement situated in a gulch near South Pass in the southwestern region of the state. Originating as a mining camp in the wake of the 1867 gold rush, Atlantic City experienced a decline following the conclusion of the placer gold rush in the early 1870s. However, advancements in mining technology facilitated gold extraction, enabling the town to endure. Notably, from the 1960s until 1983, it served as the site of the US Steel iron ore mine. Today, Atlantic City retains a "rustic flavor," containing a small cluster of residences and the preserved Atlantic City Mercantile store and restaurant along the main road.[5]

The history of Fossil Butte National Monument is intertwined with the coal mining industry and the discovery of fossils in the nearby town of Fossil, Wyoming. The settlement of Fossil originated as a result of coal mining activities driven by the railroad. As miners excavated the coal, they also stumbled upon fossil specimens, which they would sell to collectors. One notable figure in this regard was Lee Craig, who engaged in the sale of fossils from 1897 to 1937. However, it is important to note that commercial fossil collecting is not permitted within the National Monument itself. Nonetheless, the surrounding area boasts numerous quarries on private land that continue to yield fossil specimens sought after by both museums and private collectors. The history of coal mining and the discovery of fossils have contributed to the establishment and ongoing operation of the Fossil Butte National Monument, preserving and showcasing the paleontological finds of the region.[4]

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Star Valley Ranch RV Park is located in Thayne, Wyoming, pressed up against Prater Mountain. The RV park is part of the Star Valley Ranch Resort, which also includes several other real estate opportunities, various golf courses, and access to water over the area of three canyons. The region is mountainous, and many of those who visit are there for outdoor activities such as hiking or fishing.

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