James A. Lowe

Professional historian James A. Lowe of TRC Mariah Associates, Inc., was commissioned by the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office to write extensive material for a SHPO website on the Bridger Trail, which is no longer available. He is an expert on the history and condition of the trail and has published extensively on the route and its history. His book The Bridger Trail: a viable route to the gold fields of Montana Territory in 1864 was published by the Arthur H. Clark Co in 1999.

In 1864, Jim Bridger blazed a trail to the Montana gold fields. It stayed west of the Bighorn Mountains to avoid trouble with Indian tribes. Wagons traveled the full route only that year, but in later decades it became an important way into the Bighorn Basin for white settlers.

Jim Bridger’s skills as guide, mapmaker and businessman were unmatched. After 20 years trapping beaver in the northern Rockies, he co-founded Fort Bridger in 1843. In the 1850s and 1860s he guided important government exploring expeditions and guided troops on Indian campaigns. In 1868 he retired to Missouri, where he died in 1881.