Colter's Hell

Colter's Hell (HM1M6W)

Location: Cody, WY 82414 Park County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 30.7', W 109° 6.969'

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      John Colter, veteran of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, notably self-sufficient mountain man and indefatigable explorer, was the first white man known to have reconnoitered this locale. In 1807, possibly traveling alone but probably escorted by Crow guides, he crossed the Stinking Water (Shoshone River) via a major Indian-trail ford located about a mile downstream from this observation point. Here, extending along both sides of the river, he discovered an active geyser district. Steam mixed with sulfur fumes and shooting flames escaped through vents in the valley floor, subterranean rumblings were ominously audible. Although mineralized hot springs continue to flow along the river's edge, the eruptions Colter watched are now marked only by cones of parched stone.       This was primarily Shoshone and Crow country but other Indians came to the area. Particularly Bannocks and Nez Percé, journeying eastward over the mountains to hunt the plains buffalo, tarried to test the heralded medicinal values of these "stinking waters" baths. Ranged along bench-lands to the east and north are numerous tepee rings, evidence of former Indian encampments. Heart Mountain, famous landmark and geological oddity, is conspicuous on the northern horizon.       Honoring a respected predecessor, mountain men of the 1820's-1830's fur trade heyday named this place Colter's Hell. Later, early-day officials of Yellowstone Park applied that name to the Park's geyser area - thereby causing a degree of historic confusion. The true Colter's Hell is here in view.
HM NumberHM1M6W
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, July 25th, 2015 at 10:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)12T E 649732 N 4930431
Decimal Degrees44.51166667, -109.11615000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 30.7', W 109° 6.969'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 30' 42" N, 109° 6' 58.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)307
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 400-470 US-20, Cody WY 82414, US
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