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The Bidwell-Bartleson Party 1841
Soda Springs to Corinne

The automobile tour starts at the JUNCTION of Main Street and US 30 in Soda Springs, Idaho. Soda Springs is located in southeastern Idaho, 165 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Located on the Oregon Trail, Soda Springs has been known since pioneer days for its mineral salt springs, one of which was named Beer Spring. Alexander Reservoir now covers most of these springs. Writing in his journal on 10 August 1841, John Bidwell described the springs:

The day was fine and pleasant; a soft and cheerful breeze, and the sky bedimmed by smoke, brought to mind the tranquil season of autumn. A distance of ten miles took us to the Soda Fountain, where we stopped the remainder of the day. This is a noted place in the mountains, and is considered a great curiosity; within the circumference of three or four miles there are included no less than 100 springs, some bursting out on top of the ground, others along the banks of the river, which are very low at this place, and some even in the bottom of the river. The water is strongly impregnated with soda, and wherever it gushes out of the ground a sediment is deposited, of a reddish color, which petrifies and forms around the springs large mounds of porous rock, some of which are no less than fifty feet high. Some of these fountains have become entirely dry, in consequence of the column of water which they contained becoming so high as to create sufficient power by its pressure to force the water to the surface in another place. In several of the springs the water was lukewarm, but none were very cold. The ground was very dry at this time, and made a noise as we passed over it with horses as though it was hollow underneath. Cedar grows here in abundance, and the scenery of the country is romantic. Father De Smet, with two or three flathead Indians, started about dark this evening to go to Fort Hall, which was about fifty miles distant.

Travel west on US 30. At 1.2 miles are two historical signs on the left that explain about Soda Springs and Colonel Patrick Edward Connor. Continue west to OREGON TRAIL STATE PARK (2.7 miles).

Optional tour to Oregon Trail State Park. Enter Oregon Trail State Park and note the trail ruts on the right and left of the road.

Return to US 30. Continue west to the JUNCTION (2.5 miles) with a road on the left, next to an Idaho highway maintenance station. By this station are two historical signs: one sign describes the separation of the Bidwell-Bartleson party, and the other sign describes the volcanic eruptions which changed the course of the Bear River 28,000 years ago.

Optional tour to the Bear River overlook. Turn left onto the road by the Idaho highway maintenance station. Travel south 0.5 miles to a concrete dam on the Bear River. Note the channel depth of the Bear River as it flows west and then south. Return to US 30.

The Bear River heads in Utah's Summit County in the Uinta Mountains, flows through Wyoming's Unita County, Idaho's Bear Lake, Caribou and Franklin counties, and Utah's Cache and Box Elder counties along a meandering 350-mile course to empty into Great Salt Lake at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, 90 miles from its source. The Bear River is the largest river located entirely inside the Great Basin, its flow being exceeded only by the Green and Colorado rivers. At intervals along its course, dams impound and divert the waters for industrial and agricultural purposes.

Michael Bourdon, a twenty-one-year-old French Canadian fur trapper of the Hudson's Bay Company, is given credit for naming the Bear River in 1818 while trapping in the area. He was killed by Indians there the following year. The Indians had names for the river--"Quee-yah-pah" for Tobacco Root Water, and "Gull-yah-pah" for Tobacco Water. These names refer to the color of the river in its lower reaches. The name Michael Bourdon gave refers to the numerous black, brown, and grizzly bears found in the region at that time.

Continue west to the JUNCTION (1.0 miles) with a gravel road on the left.

BIDWELL / BARTLESON TRAIL - SEPARATION

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Having traveled about 6 miles this morning the Company came to a halt- the Oregon Company were now going to leave Bear river for Ft. Hall, ... here concluded to go into Oregon so that the California company now consisted of only 32 men and one woman and child, there being but one family. The two companies, after bidding each other a parting farewell, started and were soon out of sight."

John Bidwell, August 11, 1841
2002 Utah Westerners Foundation & Utah Crossroads Chapter OCTA BB ID - 1

Optional tour to pioneer burial site. This road is rough and is not recommended for passenger cars. Travel south on this gravel road 0.5 miles to a fenced area where fifteen unknown pioneers are buried. Return to US 30.

Continue west to the JUNCTION (0.9 miles) with SR 34. Optional tour to Oregon Trail ruts. Turn right onto old US 30. At 0.2 miles turn right, and continue east 0.5 miles to the mounds of dirt that block the road. On the left a fence ends. Park and walk past this fence about three hundred feet to view the Oregon Trail ruts in the sagebrush near the railroad fence. This is west of the location where the Bidwell-Bartleson party and the De Smet party separated, the Bidwell-Bartleson party going south and the De Smet party going northwest. John Bidwell described this separation:

"Having traveled about 6 miles this morning the Company came to a halt--the Oregon Company were now going to leave Bear river for Ft. Hall, which is situated on Lewis River, a branch of the Columbia many, who purposed in setting out, to go immediately through to the California, here, concluded to go into Oregon so that the California company now consisted of only 32 men and one woman and child, there being but one family. The two companies, after bidding each other a parting farewell, started and were soon out of sight, several of our company however went to Ft. Hall to procure provisions, and to hire if possible a pilot to conduct us to the gap in the California Mountains, or a least, to the head of Mary's river, we were therefore to move on slowly till their return. Encamped on Bear river, having come about 12 miles."

Return to the junction of US 30 and SR 34. Travel south on SR 34 to the town of GRACE (5.0 miles). Turn right onto Center Street.

Travel west on Center Street. At 1.5 miles cross the Black Canyon of the Bear, where the Bear River has cut a deep channel through the black volcanic rock. This channel becomes deeper downstream as the Bear River cuts through the end of the volcanic rock and flows into the valley.

Continue west to the JUNCTION (3.0 miles) with the Hegstrom road. Turn left onto the Hegstrom road, continue to a bend in the road, then turn right and continue to the JUNCTION (2.0 miles) with Gentile Valley road.

Travel south on Gentile Valley road to the JUNCTION (1.9 miles) with Ralph Hanson road.

Optional tour to 11 August campsite. Travel east then south on Ralph Hanson Road, and at 0.9 miles stop on top of a hill, about four hundred feet from a house at the end of the lane. This is the 11 AUGUST CAMPSITE of the Bidwell-Bartleson party. Look west to the mountain and its two peaks and you will see where John Bidwell and James John saw snow on 11 August. John Bidwell described the scene:

BIDWELL / BARTLESON TRAIL - MT. SNOW

First Overland Emigrant Party

"I, in company with another man (J. John), went some distance below the camp to fish in the river; fished sometime without success - concluded we could spend the afternoon more agreeably. ...We concluded to ascend the mountain, where were two spots of snow in full view, in order to enjoy the contrast between a scorching valley and a snowy mountain. Supposed the snow not more than 4 miles distant; set out without our guns knowing they would be a hindrance in ascending the mountain."

John Bidwell, August 11, 1841
2002 Utah Westerners Foundation & Utah Crossroads Chapter OCTA BB ID - 2

After midnight, Bidwell and John found a place to sleep under a stunted fir tree. In the morning, they discovered quantities of shaggy hair. This had been the lair of grizzly bears. They reached the snow that morning, and, after putting some in a handkerchief, they hurried down the mountain back to camp where they were chastised by Bartleson and greeted with joy by the rest of the party.

Return to Gentile Valley road.

Continue south to the JUNCTION (3.3 miles) with Thatcher road and the 12 AUGUST CAMPSITE. Turn right onto Thatcher road, and travel south past the Thatcher Ward to the JUNCTION (7.3 miles) with Cleveland road. Travel south on Cleveland road to the JUNCTION (6.0 miles) with 13400 North. Turn left and travel east on 13400 North to the JUNCTION (0.8 miles) with SR 34. At this point, you can see the Oneida Narrows to the south. The Oneida Narrows is where the Bear River cuts though the mountains and where, downstream, a dam has been built to form Oneida Narrows Reservoir.

The 13 AUGUST CAMPSITE was on the river by the narrows. James John described the campsite:

"This morning we passed by a hot spring near the encampment it is constantly boiling and smoking and is strongly impregnated with soda. We traveled about 15 miles today over hills and mountains and encamped on a small brook about 4 miles from the river." This hot spring can be seen on the left side of US 34, just after entering the highway.

BIDWELL / BARTLESON TRAIL - HOT SPRINGS

First Overland Emigrant Party

"August 13th -Today we traveled about 10 miles and encamped for the balance of the day on the bank of the river [ Bear River ]." "August 14th, - This morning we passed by a hot spring near the encampment. It is constantly boiling and smoking and is strongly impregnated with soda."

James John, August 13 -14, 1841
2002 Utah Westerners Foundation & Utah Crossroads Chapter OCTA BB ID - 3

Travel southwest on SR 34, paralleling the Bidwell-Bartleson route, to the JUNCTION (11.0 miles) with Mail Route road, a gravel road on the right. There is a power substation by this road. Turn right onto Mail Route road and travel 3.6 miles down Battle Creek Canyon to the junction with a paved road.

Turn left onto this paved road and travel 0.9 miles, then turn right onto the next road and travel 0.5 miles, then turn left onto 1600 West and travel 0.3 miles, then turn right onto 6400 North and travel 1.0 miles to the JUNCTION (6.3 miles) with US 91.

Turn left onto US 91 and travel south a short distance to a creek which crosses under US 91. This is Battle Creek, and the field to the right is the location of the 14 AUGUST CAMPSITE on Battle Creek, four miles from the Bear River. Continue south to the JUNCTION (4.2 miles) with a gravel road on the right.

BIDWELL / BARTLESON TRAIL - SMALL BROOK

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Left the river on account of the hills which obstructed our way on it; ... Road uncommonly broken, did not reach the river; distance about 14 miles." John Bidwell, Saturday, August 14, 1841. "We traveled about 15 miles today over hills and mountains and encamped on a small brook about 4 miles from the river."

James John, August 14, 1841
2002 Utah Westerners Foundation & Utah Crossroads Chapter OCTA BB ID - 4

Turn right onto this gravel road and travel 0.2 miles to a fork in the road. The stream at the fork is Battle Creek. The Bear River Massacre took place in the area from the mouth of the ravine to the north and south to the Bear River. The battle occurred on 29 January 1863 between a band of Northwestern Shoshone Indians and soldiers from newly founded Camp Douglas in Salt Lake City, commanded by Colonel Patrick Edward Connor. The battle was prompted by harassment of overland travelers, settlers, and miners by the Indians, whose traditional lands were rapidly being preempted by the whites. Approximately 250 Indian men, women, and children were killed, along with fourteen soldiers. Many soldiers were afflicted by the extremely cold weather. There is a monument to this battle on the east side of US 91, just north of the Bear River bridge.

Travel down the left-hand fork. Note the deep ravines on the right as you travel the next 4.0 miles. These ravines caused the emigrants to travel in almost every direction. One mile from the fork the road changes from gravel to pavement. Continue on the pavement 0.3 miles to the second fork in the road. Take the left-hand fork, a gravel road, and travel 1.1 miles to the junction with a paved road.

Turn left onto the paved road and travel 1.7 miles to the junction with an east-west road. Turn right onto this road and travel 1.3 miles to the junction with 3200 West. Turn left onto 3200 West and travel south 4.6 miles to the junction with 3600 South. Turn right onto 3600 South and travel 0.5 miles, past a railroad track, to the junction with SR 84. Turn right onto SR 84 and travel 1.0 miles to WESTON (11.5 miles).

The 15 AUGUST CAMPSITE is located just south of Weston on Weston Creek, three miles from the Bear River. Bidwell and John both described the scene. John Bidwell wrote:

BIDWELL / BARTLESON TRAIL - SMALL STREAM

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Continued our journey over hills and ravines, going to almost every point of the compass in order to pass them. ... Having come about 15 miles, we encamped on a small stream proceeding out of the mountains at no great distance from us. But we were surprised to see it become perfectly dry in the course of an hour; some of the guard said there was plenty of water in it about midnight."

John Bidwell, Sunday, August 15, 1841
2002 Utah Westerners Foundation & Utah Crossroads Chapter OCTA BB ID - 5

Continued our journey over hills and ravines, going to almost every point of the compass, in order to pass them. having come about 15 miles, we encamped on a small stream proceeding out of the Mountains at no great distance from us. But we were surprised to see it become perfectly dry in the course of an hour, some of the guard said there was plenty of water in it about midnight.

James John wrote: "today we did not travel for perhaps not more than 8 miles on a straight line but the way was rough and winding and hilly we encamped on a small branch about 3 miles from the river that is from Bear river."

Travel south on SR 84 from the east-west road (3600 South) to the UTAH-IDAHO BORDER (2.6 miles). Crossing the border, Idaho SR 84 becomes Utah SR 23. The Bidwell-Bartleson party traveled south along the west side of the Bear River through today's Cornish, Trenton, Amalga, and Newton.

Travel south on SR 23 through Cornish to the JUNCTION (5.7 miles) with SR 142.

Turn left onto SR 142 and travel east 1.5 miles through Trenton to the junction with a road heading south. As you travel towards the junction, SR 142 bends southward and then eastward.

Turn right at the junction and travel south 1.9 miles to the junction with a road on the left. Turn left and travel east 1.5 miles to the junction with a road on the right. Turn right and travel south 1.8 miles to the 16 AUGUST CAMPSITE (6.7 miles), on the left by the Bear River near the town of Amalga. James John described the campsite: "Today we travelled about 10 miles and encamped on the bank of Bear river near a place called Cash valley."

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - CACHE VALLEY

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Travelled about ten miles and camped on Bear River near a place called Cash [Cache] valley."

James John, August 16, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-1

Continue south 1.3 miles to the junction with SR 218. Turn right onto SR 218 and travel 4.0 miles west, then 3.0 miles northwest to NEWTON (8.3 miles). Construction began in 1871 on the first storage reservoir in Utah, now called Newton Reservoir, located just north of the town. South of Newton is Cutler Reservoir, formed by Cutler Dam on the Bear River.

Unable to see where the Bear River crossed the mountains to the west, the Bidwell-Bartleson party traveled along the north bank of the Bear River until they came to the narrows, and then crossed what is now called Long Divide.

Travel through Newton to the junction with SR 142. Turn right onto SR 142 and travel northwest 1.3 miles to the junction with a gravel road on the left. Turn left onto this gravel road, and travel 1.0 miles to the junction with a northeast-southwest gravel road. Turn left onto this curving gravel road, and travel west 5.2 miles over Long Divide to the junction with 2800 West. Turn left onto 2800 West and travel south 1.8 miles until the ROAD BENDS (9.3 miles) westward. The 17 AUGUST CAMPSITE is about one mile to the southwest on the banks of the Bear River.

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - GATES OF THE BEAR

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Today we travelled about 20 miles... Here the river runs through a deep cut in the mountain which is narrow and nearly perpendicular and about 300 feet high."

James John, August 17, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-2

James John described the river and the falls: "Today we travelled about 20 miles and encamped in Cash valley on the bank of Bear river 2 miles blow the falls of that river here the river runs through a deep cut in the Mountain which is narrow and nearly perpendicular and about 300 ft high."

Cutler Dam, built just below the falls, impounds the Bear River and its Cache Valley tributaries. The Union Pacific Railroad cuts through these narrows on the south side of the dam.

Travel west through Fielding to the MALAD RIVER (2.5 miles). There is some irrigated land, large areas of dry farms, and grazing land on neighboring hills. When the country was first reconnoitered in 1877, it was covered with sage to the height of a mounted man's head.

The Malad River drains south from Idaho into Utah and joins the Bear River just north of Corinne. Donald Mackenzie, a French Canadian trapper for the Hudson's Bay Company, is given credit for naming the river. He and his men became ill after eating beaver meat. "Malade" is French for "sick." Frémont called the river "Roseaux." Though narrow, this river was a big obstacle for early travelers because of its steep high banks and muddy bottom. The main crossing was Rocky Ford, southwest of the town of Plymouth. This ford had been used for centuries by the Indians, and was used later by the mountain men and overland emigrants.

Continue west to the JUNCTION (0.5 miles) with SR 13.

Optional tour to Rocky Ford (Private Property). A portion of this optional tour is on private property, and permission is required. Turn right onto SR 13, and travel north 3.0 miles to the junction with 19200 North on the left. A sign reading "Belmont Springs" is at this junction. Turn left onto this road, and travel west down a hill, crossing the Malad River. On the left is a hot springs resort called Belmont Springs or Uddy Springs. Continue west 1.0 miles from SR 13 to the junction with a gravel road (6000 West 19200 North). Turn right onto this gravel road and travel 0.5 miles to an unmarked gravel road on the left, in the Malad River bottoms. ? ? ? ?

This road is on private property, and permission is required to proceed. Travel west on this gravel road 0.3 miles, under an I-15 overpass structure, to some corrals. Park and walk about two hundred feet north to the Malad River crossing. This natural crossing is called ROCKY FORD, so named because of a layer of small rocks in the bottom of the river.

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - MALAD RIVER

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Traveled but a short distance when we discovered that a deep salt creek prevented our continuing near the river. In ascending this stream insearch of a place to cross it, we found on its margin a hot spring, very deep and clear."

John Bidwell, August 18, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-3

Return to SR 13 past the hot springs. John Bidwell described these hot springs:

"Traveled but a short distance, when we discovered that a deep salt creek prevented our continuing near the river. In ascending this stream in search of a place to cross it, we found on its margin a hot spring, very deep and clear. The day was very warm and we were unable to reach the river, encamped on this salt creek and suffered much for water, the water being so salt we could not drink it, distance 15 miles."

James John also described these hot springs:

"[T]his four noon we came to a muddy deep creek which we could not cross without going nearly a half days journey up it and consequently we travelled about 5 miles today and came down on the opposite bank and encamped there is a number of hot salt springs on the banks of this creek some of them are nearly as hot as boiling water."

Travel south on SR 13 through Riverside to the 18 AUGUST CAMPSITE (6.6 miles). The emigrants camped by the Malad River on the left. This site is five miles from the 17 August campsite. The Bidwell-Bartleson party traveled down the west bank of the Malad River, through today's Riverside, Garland, and Tremonton.

Continue south on SR 13 through Garland and Tremonton to BEAR RIVER CITY (10.3 miles), and the junction with 6400 North. In Bear River City, you will find the Jim Bridger Monument, honoring the frontiersman who came this way by boat to Great Salt Lake.

Turn right onto 6400 North, and travel west, crossing the Malad River and then a railroad track, to the JUNCTION (2.6 miles) with 6800 West. Turn left onto 6800 West, and travel south to the JUNCTION (4.0 miles) with SR 83. The area to the south and to the east is where the Bidwell-Bartleson party traveled some twelve to thirteen miles in a triangular route looking for Great Salt Lake and fresh water for themselves and their livestock. John Bidwell described this search:

"Started early, hoping soon to find fresh water, when we could refresh ourselves and animals, but alas! The sun beamed heavy on our heads as the day advanced, and we could see nothing before us but extensive arid plains, glimmering with heat and salt, at length the plains became so impregnated with salt, that vegetation entirely ceased; the ground was in many places white as snow with salt & perfectly smooth--the mid-day sun, beaming with uncommon splendor upon these shining plains, made us fancy we could see timber up on the plains, and wherever timber is found there is water always. We marched forward with unremitted pace till we discovered it was an illusion, and lest our teams should give out we returned from S. to E. and hastened to the river which we reached in about 5 miles. A high mountain overlooked us on the East and the river was thickly bordered with willows--grass plenty but so salt, our animals could scarcely eat it; salt glitters upon its blades like frost. Distance 20 miles."

Continue south on 6800 West to the JUNCTION (1.0 miles) with an unmarked east-west road. Turn left onto this road and travel east to CORINNE, 3.5 miles, location of the 19-20 AUGUST CAMPSITE. The party remained here for two days while they explored the surrounding country. They were ten miles from Great Salt Lake.

The first Gentile (the Mormon term for a non-Mormon) town in Utah, Corinne strived to become a commercial center following completion in 1869 of the transcontinental railroad at nearby Promontory; a steamboat center following construction of the City of Corinne and the Kate Connor, two unsuccessful steamboats that operated on Great Salt Lake in the early 1870s hauling machinery and ore for the mines south of Great Salt Lake; and a political center following establishment of the first political party to oppose the Mormon People's Party. But events kept the town from fulfilling its promise. A diphtheria epidemic in 1872 devastated the population, and completion in 1903 of the Lucin cutoff trestle across the middle of Great Salt Lake finished the economy. Even Corinne's old enemies admit that the town did much to establish the commercial status of Utah. Failure dogged all of its ambitions., but it was the first gentile town in Utah, had the first gentile school, was the home of the first political party to oppose the Mormon peoples Party, and was the first to put steamboats on Great Salt Lake. It is now just a sleepy little farming community.

Corinne to Bidwell Pass

Before traveling westward to Kelton, Lucin, Donner Spring, and Wendover, be prepared. After twenty-five miles of paved road, you will be traveling on gravel roads into desolate desert country. Food, water, and gasoline are NOT available in Park Valley, seventy-eight miles from Corinne, but are available in Wendover, eighty-five miles from Park Valley.

The automobile tour starts at the CITY PARK in Corinne. Corinne is located sixty-five miles north of Salt Lake City.

Travel north to the junction with SR 13 (State Road). Turn left onto SR 13, then turn left at the Y onto SR 83. Travel west to 6800 west. Turn right and turn around by the rail post marker which reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - TRIANGLE IN THE PLAIN

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Marched off in a N.W. direction, and intersected our trail of Thursday last, having made a complete triangle in the plain."

John Bidwell, August 21, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-4

When finished turn right on SR 83 and travel west to the JUNCTION with SR 102.

Turn right and travel 1.7 miles to the northeast until you come to a house on your right. This is Connor Springs, the 21-22 AUGUST CAMPSITE. James John wrote: "21st Travelled about 12 miles and came to a large salt springs where we camped. 22nd. Stayed in camp on account of our oxen straying. We found them towards evening. The men who went to Fort Hall, 7 in number, returned today. They obtained some provisions but could get no pilot." The rail post marker reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - CONNOR SPRINGS

First Overland Emigrant Party

"21st. Travelled about 12 miles and came to a large Salt Spring where we camped. ...22nd. Stayed in camp on account of Oxen straying... The men who went to Fort Hall... returned today."

James John, August 21, 22, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-5

Return to SR 83. Travel west on SR 83 to the JUNCTION (3.5 miles) with a road on the left. This is Lampo Junction, and just north of here is Thiokol's Wasatch Division, an industrial facility devoted to research, development, and manufacture of solid-propellant rocket motors. Occupying more than one hundred brightly colored buildings, the Thiokol plant is the largest of its kind in the world. Interestingly, Thiokol's plant, whose rocket motors are used to launch NASA's space shuttle, is within sight of another transportation landmark--the completion of the nation's first transcontinental railroad.

This is the place of the firsts: First overland emigrant party, first white woman to cross Utah, first white child, first Railroad, first solid fuel rocket motor used to propell man to the moon, and first air bag manufactured by Thiokol for cars.

Turn left at Lampo Junction and travel west 6.7 miles on the paved road. Take the right-hand fork up the hill past railroad cuts and fills to where the pavement turns left. The road to the left goes south 1.2 miles to GOLDEN SPIKE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE (7.9 miles). Golden Spike National Historic Site marks Promontory Summit, the place where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met on 10 May 1869, to form the nation's first transcontinental railroad.

The culmination of the nation's dream to unite the east and west coasts brought major changes to the country. The new railroad provided the first practical means of round-trip travel. New opportunities for commerce brought buffalo hunters, who depleted the great bison herds that roamed the plains; it was not long before the bison, and the Plains Indians who hunted them, virtually disappeared. The railroad also advanced the settlement of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California, as immigrants in search of fertile farmland rode the rails west by the thousand

A visitor's center straddles the summit's viewing area where two replica locomotives--Jupiter and Engine 119--face each other as they did at the 1869 joining of the rails. Each year on 10 May, the joining of the rails ceremony is reenacted for the public. Travel back 1.2 miles to the bend in the pavement.

Travel west on the gravel road to the summit and a rail post on the right. The marker reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - SALT LAKE

First Overland Emigrant Party

"At evening we arrived in full view of the Salt Lake; water was very scarce. Cedar grows here both on the hills and in the valleys. Distance 20 miles."

John Bidwell, August 23, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-6

Continue down to CEDAR SPRINGS (4.8 miles), on the left. From here is seen the vista of Great Salt Lake that Bidwell saw from their 23 AUGUST CAMPSITE. John Bidwell described the view:

"At evening we arrived in full view of the Salt Lake, water was very scarce. Cedar grows here both on the hills and in the valleys, distance 20 miles." James John also described the view: "Camped at night at a small spring where we did not get half enough water for the animals. We are near the Salt Lake and frequently travelled over plains covered with salt which is good for use."

With the exception of the Dead Sea, Great Salt Lake is the saltiest body of water on Earth. Occupying a large part of northern Utah, the lake is seventy-two miles long and thirty miles wide, but only ten to thirty feet deep. The only crossing over the lake is the 102-mile Southern Pacific Railroad cutoff between Ogden and Lucin.

Centuries ago, the northwestern quarter of Utah was covered by Lake Bonneville, a great fresh-water lake ten times the size of Great Salt Lake. Covering more than twenty-thousand square miles in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, the lake was one thousand feet deep where Great Salt Lake now lies and nine hundred feet deep at the site of Salt Lake City. Lake Bonneville left a distinct shoreline that is still visible. The lake broke through its barrier at the outlet, Red Rock Pass, north of the Battle Creek campsite in Idaho, and with a change in climate the huge lake fell below its lowest outlet and shrank to today's Great Salt Lake. Depending on the water level, Great Salt Lake's salinity varies from 15 to 25 percent, at least six times saltier than the ocean.

A few of the islands in Great Salt Lake are inhabited by wildlife. The largest island, Antelope Island, named by John C. Fremont in 1845, provides a refuge for about five hundred American Bison. Antelope and elk have been re-introduced recently to Antelope Island, which is now a state park.

Great Salt Lake rose over twelve feet between 1967 to 1983, covering I-80, Saltair beaches, the roads to Antelope Island, and wildlife refuges. Road grades were raised, dikes built, and pumps installed to pump the high water into the Great Salt Lake Desert. The lake has since receded.

The Great Salt Lake Desert, west of Great Salt Lake, is part of the bed of ancient Lake Bonneville and is composed of clay washed into the huge lake thousands of years ago. At the Bonneville Salt Flats, a low place in this basin located east of Wendover, Utah, salt has been deposited over time. The water from the pumping project covered approximately eight hundred square miles of the Great Salt Lake Desert with salt water, which has since evaporated, leaving a salt crust averaging about six inches thick and covering the Donner-Reed trail.

Follow the unmarked gravel road as it turns northwest to a FORK (9.6 miles) in the road, on the right.

Optional tour to 24-25 August campsite (Private Property). This optional tour is on private property, and permission is required. This road goes northeast to the 24-25 AUGUST CAMPSITE at Salt Wells. James John described this campsite:

"This morning we were detained by the oxen straying. Did not get them till about 12 o'clock. Travelled about 10 miles and camped near a number of salt springs not far from the Lake. These springs are deep. Some of our horses would have drowned had we not seen them in time. There are also extensive plains here which border on the Lake."

Return to the unmarked gravel road.

Continue west on the gravel road to MONUMENT POINT (4.7 miles), where Great Salt Lake, the railroad grade, and the Bidwell-Bartleson Trail meet. The rail post marker here at the point reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - MONUMENT POINT

First Overland Emigrant Party

"We now skirted the north end of the lake, sometimes traveling in a valley and again along the shore of the lake when the mountains jutted down nearer to its shores."

Nicholas "Cheyenne" Dawson, Narrative, August 26, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-7

Continue northwest to the "Locomotive Springs" SIGN (4.2 miles). Turn south 1.5 miles is the Locomotive Springs State Waterfowl Management Area. The Bidwell-Bartleson party missed these springs, forcing them to travel a long distance and establish a camp without water to the northwest. Locomotive Springs is southeast of Kelton. The springs pour out their waters from the center of a large flat, creating thousands of acres of marsh land, wild hay fields, and sloughs. Thousands of brant, snipe, and ducks frequent the marshes, which are protected as a migratory bird refuge.

Continue west at the Locomotive Springs sign. As you travel west, the road switches to the old Central Pacific Railroad grade. Travel along this grade to the old town site of KELTON (10.3 miles). There are several Bureau of Land Management interpretive signs placed next to the railroad grade that outline the area's railroad history.

Kelton was established as a railroad town. Water was piped in square, hollowed-out-timber pipes from a spring to the northwest and used for the steam locomotives. Originally on the Central Pacific Railroad as a stage and freighting station, Kelton served as a major junction for stage and freight lines from Idaho and Oregon. After the Lucin Cutoff was built across Great Salt Lake, the town of Kelton died. The cemetery and old Central Pacific roadbed are all that remain today.

Turn right and travel north from Kelton to the JUNCTION (8.5 miles) with paved SR 30. Turn right onto SR 30 and travel to MILEPOST 66 (1.1 miles), at the junction with an unmarked gravel road on the left. East of this point 2.5 miles is the 26 AUGUST CAMPSITE. John Bidwell described this campsite:

"Traveled all day over dry, barren plains, producing nothing but sage, or rather it ought to be called, wormwood, and which I believe will grow without water or soil. Two men were sent ahead in search of water, but returned a little while before dark unsuccessful. Our course intersected an Indian trail, which we followed directly north towards the mountains, knowing that in these dry countries, the Indian trails always lead to the nearest water. Having traveled till about 10 o'clock P.M. made a halt, and waited till morning distance about 30 miles."

Turn left onto the gravel road, and travel north 0.8 miles to a junction, then travel left through a gate 1.4 miles to a locked gate. Northwest of this gate, you can see the meadows at Tenmile Springs. This is the 27 AUGUST--4 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. The Bidwell-Bartleson party stayed at this campsite longer than any other site on the trail. John Bidwell described the reasons for this long rest:

"Daylight discovered to us a spot of green grass on the declivity of the mountain towards which we were advancing. 5 miles took us to this place, where we found to our great joy, an excellent spring of water and an abundance of Grass-here we determined to continue, 'till the route was explored to the head of Mary's River and run no more risks of perishing for want of water in this desolate region."

James John also described this campsite:

"Started early and travelled about 5 miles, camped. Plenty water and grass here. We remained several days. Some Snake Indians camped near us and came out and traded some berries for powder and buffalo and bullets. The Captain, and an other man named Charles Hopper, left camp on the 30th for the purpose of finding Mary's River. There is neither rain nor, I can here discover, of the season of the year. We have had no rain since we left the Platte River."

These springs were also the campsite of the 1828-9 Peter Skein Ogden fur trapping expedition to the Humboldt River which Ogden called the Marys River.

The rail post marker at this area reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - TENMILE SPRING

First Overland Emigrant Party

"...5 miles took us to this place, where we found, to our great joy, an excellent spring of water and an abundance of grass. Here we determined to continue ‘till the route was explored to the head of Mary's river..."

John Bidwell, August 27, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-8

Return to SR 30. Turn right onto SR 30, and travel south to a ranch road on the left and the "Morris Ranch" SIGN (4.3 miles).

Location of 5 September campsite (Private Property). This campsite is located on private property, and the owner (1993) does not want to be disturbed. The ranch house is about one-half mile below the hill amongst the cedar trees. This is the 5 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE.

Bidwell and John both describe the campsite. John Bidwell wrote:

"Grass having become scarce, we concluded to move on a little every day to meet Capt. B. & H. Traveled about 6 miles and encamped by a beautiful Cedar grove." James John wrote: "Left the camp that we came to on the 27th of August and went about 6 miles, camped in a cedar grove near a spring of water and in sight of the plains which border on the Salt Lake. Captain Bartleson and Mr. Hopper have not yet returned." The marker reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - CEDAR GROVE (MORRIS RANCH)

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Left the camp that we came to on the 27th of August and went about 6 miles and camped in a Cedar grove near a Spring of water and in sight of the Plain which borders on the Salt Lake."

James John, September 5, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-9

Go back west to SR 30. Travel west through Park Valley to the PALMER TWINS SERVICE STATION (6.6 miles).

Optional tour to 6 September campsite (Private Property). This optional tour is on private property, and permission is required. There is a gravel road south of the Palmer Twins Service Station. Travel south and east on this gravel road 5.0 miles. You will come to some trees at Baker Spring, the 6 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. John Bidwell described this campsite:

"We travelled about 10 miles a day in a southwest direction and camped on a small brook. Today we killed some rabbits and an antelope. Game being scarce here we were compelled to kill oxen." The marker at this site reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - BAKER SPRING

First Overland Emigrant Party

"We traveled about 10 miles today in a south west direction and we killed a rabbit and an antelope, game being scarce. Here we were compelled to kill oxen."

James John, September 6, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-10

Return to SR 30. Continue west to ROSETTE (4.5 miles). Directly south of Rosette seven miles is the 7-8 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE which is in assessable.

Continue southwest to MILEPOST 37 (17.8 miles). You will see an emigrant road which crosses the highway from northeast to southwest. The Bidwell-Bartleson party is believed to have pioneered this road.

Continue southwest to ROSEBUD SPRINGS (4.2 miles) to an unmarked gravel road on the right. Turn right onto the gravel road and travel west 1.3 miles, then travel right at a fork 1.0 miles to a locked metal gate. The buildings behind this gate comprise a Bureau of Land Management camp. This is the 9 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. John Bidwell wrote:

"The part of the Company that remained yesterday, went on and overtook the 2 wagons. Capt. Bartleson & Hopper returned, bringing Intelligence that they had found the head of Mary's river-distant about 5 days travel, distance traveled to day about 12 miles S. W. direction. The Indians stole a horse-day cool." Return to SR 30. The rail marker reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - ROSEBUD SPRINGS

First Overland Emigrant Party

"The part of the Company that remained yesterday went on and overtook the 2 wagons. Capt. Bartleson & Hopper returned, bringing intelligence that they had found the head of Mary's river - distant about 5 days' travel..."

John Bidwell, September 9, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-11

Continue southwest to a HISTORICAL MARKER (3.5 miles), on the left. Travel 7.0 miles until you come to a slight bend in the road. South of this bend one mile is the 10 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. James John wrote:

"This morning the Indians were dismissed and we gave them some powder and lead balls which appeared to satisfy them for their service. We travelled about 14 miles today and then camped near the foot of a mountain with neither water nor grass for our animals."

Continue southwest to the Grouse Creek JUNCTION (14.0 miles). Turn left and follow the southeast unmarked road 1.2 miles to the trees at Owl Springs. This is the 11 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. James John described the campsite: "We started early, travelled about 14 miles to the southwest, and found water and grass here and we camped for the night." Our marker here reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - OWL SPRINGS

First Overland Emigrant Party

"This morning left two waggons belonging to B. Kelsey, their oxen being worn down by fatigue. They were compelled to leave their waggons and pack their baggage on horses and mules."

James John, September 12, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-12

The following day, the first wagons were abandoned. John Bidwell wrote:

"Mr. Kelsey left his wagons and took his family and goods on pack horses, his oxen not being able to keep up: distance to day about 12 miles." James John wrote: "This morning left two wagons belonging to B. Kelsey, their oxen being worn down by fatigue. They were compelled to leave their wagons and pack their belongings on horses and mules."

Continue southeast 0.1 miles to the junction with a road that goes southwest. Travel 0.3 miles on this road to where a wagon trail crosses to the southwest. This trail was probably established by the Bidwell-Bartleson party traveling from the spring. Continue southwest 0.9 miles to the JUNCTION (2.5 miles) with the Lucin/Wendover road.

Travel south on the Lucin/Wendover road 3.3 miles to the old Central Pacific Railroad grade and a historical sign. Continue southwest to where the road crosses the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. On the south side of the railroad, and east of the road crossing, is LUCIN (5.4 miles). Occupied by employees of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, Lucin was a small railroad town on the west side of the Great Salt Lake Desert. Today, the railroad crosses Great Salt Lake. The town's name comes from a local fossil (Lucina Subanta).

Continue south to the (5.8 miles) of the hill, where there is a dirt road going to a spring at the foot of the mountain. This spring is the 12 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. James John wrote:

"We travelled about 10 miles today southwest and camped at a excellent spring near a large plain covered with salt partly surrounded by high mountains."

Continue south on the Lucin/Wendover road. A wagon trail crosses the road at 4.2 miles from the northeast and then crosses again going southeast. This trail probably was established by the Bidwell-Bartleson party. At 8.9 miles there is an abandoned house on the right. Continue southeast then south to SHIBLEY SPRINGS (13.2 miles), on the left. This is the 13 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. The rail post marker on the left side of the road by the fence corner reads:

BIDWELL /BARTLESON TRAIL - SHIBLEY SPRINGS

First Overland Emigrant Party

"Today we traveled about 15 miles on a south course, leaving large salt plains [on] our left and high mountains to the right and camped at a spring of good water this evening."

James John, September 13, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA BBU-13

Continue south to the TL BAR RANCH (4.5 miles), where Donner Spring is located by the trees. Some historians feel that the Bidwell-Bartleson Party stopped at Donner Springs but James John's diary does not indicate this. It reads:

"We started early this morning and passed a number of good springs, took dinner at one of them."

The distance traveled would place them at Halls spring. Continue southwest to the JUNCTION (4.7 miles) with the Hall Springs road. Turn left onto the Hall Springs Road and travel west to HALL SPRINGS (0.6 miles). The Bidwell-Bartleson party had dinner here on 14 September. The plaque reads:

BIDWELL TRAIL /HASTINGS CUTOFF - HALLS SPRING

"We started early this morning and passed a number of good springs, took dinner at one of them."

James John, Sep 14, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-25

Return to the Lucin/Wendover road.

To the west is 10,700-foot Pilot Peak. Named by John C. Fremont, Pilot Peak is in Nevada, close to the Utah-Nevada border. The peak was a landmark to all emigrant parties moving west in this part of the country. Explorers, mountain men, trappers, and Indians also used the peak as their guide. It could be seen from great distances as emigrant parties crossed the Great Salt Lake Desert.

Continue southwest on the Lucin/Wendover road 5.9 miles to where the Bidwell-Bartleson party trail crosses the gravel road from east to west. This is where Edwin Bryant, traveling ten miles southwest of Donner Spring, saw an old wagon road on 5 August 1846. Bryant wrote: "After travelling about ten miles we struck a wagon-trail, which evidently had been made several years." He then recollected an expedition by Bartleson and Chiles that went to California.

Continue south and at 1.5 miles look westward where you will see a low pass, we named Bidwell Pass. West of Bidwell Pass 7.5 miles is the 14 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE. John Bidwell wrote:

"Traveled about 25 miles and stopped about 9 o'clock at night, in the middle of a dry plain, destitute of water."

Four miles west from the 14 September campsite is a small spring in Silver Zone Pass, and about fifteen miles further west is Big Springs, the 15 SEPTEMBER CAMPSITE, at the foot of the Pequop Range. This is where the Bidwell-Bartleson party abandoned the rest of their wagons before continuing on to California.

Continue south over Leppy Pass, down the other side of the mountain to the salt flats, to the JUNCTION (12.0 miles) with a curved paved road. The paved road heading east goes 3.0 miles to the Bonneville Salt Flats. The paved road heading south goes to the JUNCTION (1.4 miles) with I-80. At this point you are 117 miles west of Salt Lake City and 3 miles east of the Utah-Nevada border.

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