American Fur Trade Rendezvous Sites

The Rocky Mountain Rendezvous were annual meetings organized by fur trade companies between 1825–1840. Fur trappers gathered at these summertime rendezvous to sell their furs, purchase supplies from merchants, and enjoy the company of fellow mountain men. Meeting organizers typically picked a different location each year. This novel system of a movable trade-fair was more efficient than a stationary trading post and allowed merchants from St. Louis to meet trappers in the mountains. Although the system was relatively short-lived, it has made a lasting impact on how people perceive the American West. The mountain men and rendezvous represent the West as a wild and free place, where any individual could venture into the untamed wilderness and make their own way. This tour highlights five significant rendezvous locations, all in the Intermountain West.

McKinnon, Wyoming: First Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Rendezvous

McKinnon is a small town in southwest Wyoming, near the Utah border. Fur traders held the first Rocky Mountain Rendezvous north of present-day McKinnon, along the Henry’s Fork River. Founder William Ashley chose the site in 1825 for its proximity to…

Cache Valley Rendezvous of 1826

Cache Valley is a high mountain valley in northern Utah, near the border with Idaho. Although there has been historical debate as to whether the 1826 rendezvous was held specifically in Cove or Hyrum, the contemporary consensus is that Hyrum is the…

Bear Lake Rendezvous of 1827

Bear Lake is a freshwater body on the Utah–Idaho border that is situated within a small valley, at an elevation of 5,923 feet. Eight miles long and twenty miles wide, calcium carbonates suspended in the lake water give it a unique green-blue hue,…

Pierre’s Hole Rendezvous of 1832

Pierre’s Hole is a valley in Eastern Idaho, located on the west slope of the Teton Mountain Range at an elevation of 6,109 feet. Today, the valley is officially known as Teton Valley, and the Teton River flows through it. The Rocky Mountain Fur…

Daniel, Wyoming Rendezvous of 1837

Near what is today the small western Wyoming town of Daniel, fur traders held the rendezvous of 1837 along the Green River, in the shadow of the Wind River Range of mountains. Over the years, trappers and traders held eight rendezvous in Green River…