Prior to 1825 at the end of the winters trapping season, the fur trappers had to carry their furs to St. Louis to be sold to the fur companies. They would then purchase the many supplies they would need for the upcoming trapping season and then begin the long journey back to the mountains.
General William Ashley of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company started the tradition of the rendezvous in 1825. He decided to bring the supplies to the mountain men thereby creating a monopoly of buying furs and selling supplies.
What began as a practical gathering to exchange pelts for supplies and reorganize trapping units soon evolved into a month long carnival in the middle of the wilderness. The gathering was not confined to just trappers; it also attracted Indians and travelers.
James Beckworth described the festivities as a scene of "mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target-shooting, spinning yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent were freely indulged in.” An easterner gave his view: "mountain companies are all assembled on this season (at rendezvous) and make as crazy a set of men I ever saw."
The last Rendezvous was held in 1840 on the Green River near today’s Pinedale, Wyoming.
The Laguna Mountain Rendezvous may not be quite as wild and crazy as a rendezvous in the Rocky Mountains of 1830, but we do give it a good try. Men, women and children dressed in their mountain man, Indian or even colonial outfits, gather together to do the best we can to live in the past. Primitive camps, period traders, demonstrations, competitions, music, food & drink and lots of friendly people make the Laguna Mountain Rendezvous a great place to visit.
You do not have to be a member to come and enjoy the rendezvous. Day visitors can shop, eat, try their hand at primitive skills and enjoy the beautiful mountain setting of the rendezvous. Don’t forget your camera. There is a lot of interesting things to photograph. Visit our Gallery section to see photos of past rendezvous.
To camp at the rendezvous you need to camp and dress primitive. There is also a ‘tin teepee’ camp- ing (RV). Boy Scout units that would like to attend and camp will be provided a special camping area. See registration form for rules, regulations and costs.