Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kaycee Wyoming: An Unexpected Adventure


September  28, 2017
Kaycee Wyoming


We chose Kaycee Wyoming as a point on the map halfway between 2 destinations. Our original plan was to stay the night and continue out journey the next morning but this small Wyoming town turned out to be quite an interesting place.
Kaycee is a small town in Johnson County, population 263, surrounded by farms and ranches.

Chris Ledoux Memorial Park
It was the home of rodeo champion and musician Chris Ledoux. There is a beautiful little park on Nolan Avenue (the towns main street)  that is dedicated to Chris and his accomplishments. The focal point of the park is a life sized statue of him on his horse. The base of the statue is a guitar. The park tells the story of Chis Ledieu’s life and his accomplishments in music as well as rodeo. It is a beautiful tribute.

Park Gate
If you look closely at the sidewalk leading into the park you can see that they used his boots to make impressions in the wet cement.
Branding Irons at the museum
Not far away is the Hoofprints of the Past Museum where we learned about the Johnson County War where branding mavericks got a bad name and small ranchers and homesteaders were treated as outlaws.
This area is the home of the Hole in the Wall Outlaw Hideout. Cowboys like Nate Champion and the Smith brothers retreated to the Hole in the Wall to avoid persecution and death at the hand of gunmen hired by local cattle barons. It became a place of retreat for other outlaws that came to be known as the Wild Bunch. There is anecdotal evidence that places Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid here.
This place and these events have become legendary. Stories and songs and books and movies tell the tale of land grabbing cattle barons and those who went outside the law to thwart them. Those stories are part of our American Heritage.
We had dinner at the Country Inn and enjoyed a front row seat to Kaycee's Homecoming Parade. We thought that was an odd thing for a Thursday evening but were told that the Kaycee School System has 4 day school weeks with Fridays being Catch-up Days for students needing extra help.

Red Rocks in the Hole in the Wall Region
Fred met a woman at our campground who was very interested and knowledgeable about local history. She was kind enough to copy a map for him that showed us how to get to the Outlaw Cave Trail.


That trip was quite an adventure. We drove county roads that turned to a dirt road that turned to a rock filled rutted track before ending at a hiking trail.


The roads took us through the Red Rocks region and onto the Hole in the Wall Ranch. We drove over open range, waiting for cattle to move out of the road and hoping that they didn't take exception to our being there.


The Hole in the Wall Cabin where the “outlaws” stayed and were eventually attacked has been moved to a museum in Cody, Wyoming.
There is a cave that some outlaws stayed in at the end of the hiking trail but it was advertised as 3 miles of rough terrain over loose rock so we passed.


The Hole in the Wall is an amazing place. It was easy to see how you could get lost in that big expanse of sandstone cliffs. The plains in between the rocky outcrops was and still is a perfect protected place for hiding grazing animals.

We passed on the rough rocky trail
The roads to get to the Hole in the Wall go through private ranches. We were instructed to stay in the car unless we needed to open and close a cattle gate to pass. The land that the Outlaw Hideout is on is administered by the BLM. There are no services and you will need a high clearance vehicle.  
There is a rustic campground at the end of the trail. It would be a great place to spend a few days. Fly fisherman along the Powder River and Buffalo Creek seemed to be enjoying themselves.


Chris LeDoux Memorial Park
401 Nolan Ave
Kaycee, Wyoming


Hoofprints of the Past Museum
344 Nolan Ave
Kaycee, Wyoming

Hole in the Wall Outlaw Hideout

Rte 255 from Kaycee to TTT Road and onwards through Willow Creek Ranch.

1 comment:

  1. We love the way you two discover these hidden gems, Bonnie! Very nice find. :)

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