Independence Rock near Casper, Wyoming, is a fairly nondescript granite monolith that stands 130 feet high above the flat and scruffy, Wyoming landscape, but measures 1,900 feet by length and 700 feet by width, making it more than a mile to walk around the entire boulder. The origin of the name doesn't appear to be in dispute, but there are two concurrent versions.
The official version is simply that the rock got its name after fur trader William Sublette held a party there on July 4, 1824, attended by 80 other western-bound travelers. That was also the year, according to the state, that one of the first of many names was carved or painted on the rock, the early signature attributed to M.K. Hugh, one of thousands of early pioneers who passed by the monument on their way to Utah, California, Oregon, or Washington State.
However, the rock was a frequent camping spot for wagon trains headed west and thousands, over the years, followed M.K. Hugh's lead and inscribed their names on the rock using paint, grease or whatever was available, sometimes just chiseling their names right into the rock face. But others believe the name comes from the point that western wagon trains used the rock as a marker to judge their travel time.
Having left the Missouri River in early spring, they expected to reach the rock by July 4, or they would consider their trip behind schedule. One way or another, this magnificent example of early American graffiti remains a popular hike for travelers who to this day find it a much-need a pee stop along those long stretches of Wyoming road. Your dog will agree that's a great idea. Get out of the car. Stretch. Woof. It's all good. Dogs at the site must be on a leash, other than that; it's a sensible idea.