Saleratus Lakes

Steamboat Lake, one of several so-called saleratus lakes where Oregon Trail pioneers often stopped to stock up on saleratus, a kind of natural baking soda, is the subject of an interpretive turnout off Wyoming Highway 220 about four miles west of the highway’s intersection with Natrona County Road 319 and five miles east of Independence Rock. The site, a joint project of the Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge and the Audubon Society, features information on bird life and other wildlife.

Much closer to Independence Rock is Playa Lake, also called Saleratus Lake, a mile and a half northeast of the Rock. Playa Lake is easily visible from the top of Independence Rock. Like the other saleratus lakes, it is sometimes dry and sometimes not, depending on the season and on that year’s rainfall.