On the edge of this magnificent sheet of water, from 1833 to 1844, Captain William Drummond Stewart of Scotland, camped many times with Jim Bridger and other Mountain Men and the Indians. In 1837 his artist, Alfred Jacob Miller, painted the first pictures of this area. On Stewart’s last trip in 1844, eight men in a rubber boat, first boat on the lake, honored their leader by christening these waters as Stewart’s Lake in a joyous ceremony near the narrows with a jug of whiskey. Years later this glacier-formed lake with its shoreline of twenty-two miles and over six hundred foot depth was named for John C. Fremont, – the map makers knew not it had been named long before.
The marker pictured above has been replaced and the new one says:
Sir William Drummond Stewart of Scotland can be called Wyoming’s first tourist. Stewart attended every summer rendezvous from 1833 to 1838, during the heyday of the mountain man fur trade. Four of those gatherings took place nearby, at the confluence of Horse Creek and the Green River.
This magnificent glacier-carved lake must have been one of Stewart’s favorite spots. Artist Alfred Jacob Miller accompanied Stewart in 1837 and painted the first pictures of the area, including the mountain lakes that inspired both men.
Although the last rendezvous was held in 1840, Stewart and mountain man William Sublette returned one more time in 1843. They camped here for 10 days in August, visited old Shoshone Indian and trapper friends, and raced horses on a flat to the west near the New Fork River. Stewart and a small party floated to the head of the lake in an India-rubber boat brought especially for that purpose. At that time this lake was called both Stewart’s Lake and Loch Drummond.
The year before, in 1842, explorer John C. Fremont had made his first trip west, and guided by Kit Carson, climbed what he thought was the highest summit in the Wind River Mountains. This peak, which towers over the lake, was later named Fremont’s Peak. Long after, not knowing that the lake had already been named in honor of Stewart, Fremont supporters named it Fremont Lake even though John C. Fremont had never actually been there.
At 9 miles long, 1 mile wide and 600 feet deep, Fremont Lake is the second largest natural lake in Wyoming.