VARIOUS HASTINGS CUTOFF TRAILS
THROUGH THE SALT LAKE VALLEY
The first emigrants on Hastings Cutoff used several different trails when they crossed the Salt Lake Valley. The Bryant/Russell Party, came through Weber Canyon and traveled along the foothills to City Creek where they camped near where Temple Square is today and probably the same camp ground used by the Fremont party the previous year. From Bryant's description they then went south the next day about 4 miles to the crossing on the Jordan River that Clyman and Hastings used in the spring. After crossing they proceeded to the Oquirrh Mountains and around into Tooele Valley.
The Harlan/Young wagon party, after laboring through Weber Canyon, turned south and climbed the hill where US-89 is today. They then had to follow Kays Creek to the south west to keep from crossing the creeks deep wash near the mountain. They probably camped at Farmington and on the next day they followed along the base of the mountains then crossed the ford on North Temple and camped near Garfield at the Oquirrh Mts.
The Lienhard Party, came out of Weber Canyon and camped near Kays creek then on the next day followed near the shore of the lake and camped on the Jordan River. Historians figure they crossed the Jordan about 5 or 6 miles north of the North Temple crossing and headed for the Oquirrh Mountains at Magna then followed the Harlan/Young Trail around the mountain.
The Donner/Reed Party came out of Emigration Canyon into the valley, followed Emigration Creek on the south side, crossed Parleys Creek and Mill Creek then followed Mill Creek to the Jordan River where they camped just south of 2700 South. The next day they crossed the Jordan probably at the same crossing as Clyman/Hastings and Bryant /Russell used. After crossing the river the trail probably followed the slight rise in the ground - about 3100 South -to stay out of the wet areas on their way to where the city of Magna is today. Near here they intersected the road made by the emigrants in advance of them.
The Mormons came into the valley the next year and established Great Salt Lake City on City Creek. The emigrants, the following years, followed the Mormons into the city where they camped near by the City then crossed the Jordan River at North Temple and followed the Harlan/Young road to the Oquirrh Mountains and onward.
We begin out tour at the east bank of the Jordan River. Drive to 900 west via 2100 south then drive south to 2780 south street and turn right and go west until road ends at the Jordan River Parkway. Walk north along the paved pathway about 300 feet to the rail post monument with a quote from James Reed's diary which reads:
"Son 23 left camp late this day on acct. of having to find a good road or pass through the swamps of the Utah outlet. ... encamped on the east bank. ... "
James F. Reed, Aug 23, 1846
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU 5
Donner Reed party after exiting Emigration Canyon, followed the Mill Creek stream down to the Jordan River which is just south of 2700 south [Salt Lake City block numbers]. The Mill Creek Channel was straightened some years ago and according to eye witnesses the original channel was just north of the rail post. James Clyman knew of this crossing and when he guided Hastings & Hudspeth east in June of 1846, they crossed here. Later on in August Hudspeth now guiding the Bryant/Russell mule mounted pack party, came to this same crossing after the party had camped on John C. Fremont's camping spot on City Creek near where the Temple stands today. Since Hudspeth knew of the crossing, he led the B/R party down through 2 miles of bull rushes and swamps created by the combination of Mill, Parleys, Emigration and Red Butte creeks flooding the area north of 2700 south.
Edwin Bryant wrote in his journal on July 31, 1846:
"Morning clear, with a delightful temperature, and a light breeze blowing from the west. .... Decending from the upland slope on which we encamped yesterday, [on City Creek] we crossed a marsh about two miles in width, covered with grass so dense and matted that our animals could scarcely make their way through it [ from about 15th south to 27th south]. ... We reached the Utah Outlet [Jordan River] after travelling four miles, and forded it without difficulty. The channel is about twenty yards in breadth, and the water in the deepest places about three feet. The bed of the channel is composed of compact bluish clay. The plain or valley, from the western bank of the "Outlet" to the base of the range of hills to the west [Oquirrh Mountains], is level and smooth, and in places white with a saline deposite or efflorescence. There is but little vegetation upon it, and this is chiefly the wild sage, indicative of aridity, and poverty of soil. From this plain we struck the shore of another bay of the Salt Lake, bordered by a range of mountains running parallel with it. The shore, next to the white crust of salt, is covered with a debris precipitated from the rocky summits of the mountains."
The Harlan / Young company crossed the Jordan River at North Temple and the Lienhard/Hoppy company crossed some 6 1/2 miles further north. After the Mormons settled in the valley, North Temple became the preferred crossing for the later Emigrants after they had rested, refurbished their supplies in Salt Lake City.
After visiting the Jordan River site, drive back to 900 west then turn right and drive 0.8 miles to 3300 South, turn right on 33rd and proceed 1.1 miles to Redwood Road then again turn right [north] 0.4 miles to 3100 south street and go left or west on that street. It is this authors opinion that the Donner Reed party slowly bent their trail to the south to avoid the springs and wet areas between here and the Oquirrh Mountains. Their travel would be easier to stay up on the slight rise in the ground about on 3100 south. Notice the lower and sometimes wet areas just to the north. Continue west 8.0 miles to 8400 west, turn right 0.4 miles to 2700 south. Then left 0.4 miles to 9180 west and then drive through Magna, then turn right and go 0.5 miles to 2100 south street extension or U-201. Turn left at the stop sign and head west on U-201.
James Reed wrote:
"Mo 24 left our Camp [on the Jordan] and Crossed the plain to a spring at a point of the Lake mountain and 1 1/2 miles from the road traveled by the people who passed the Cannon 12 [In margin: Brackish water] [In margin still later: it took 18 days to gett 30 miles]"
Notice the high embankment across the canal on your right. This is a dike to hold the Kennecott Copper Corporations [KCC], tailings which is like fine sand & rock powder. The production of copper from the KCC mine, requires the mineral ore bearing rock from the pit to be crushed to almost a fine powder and the copper and other minerals are floated in classifiers by chemicals mixed with water. After the copper, gold, silver, lead, molybdenum and other minerals are removed, the remaining material [tailings] is piped and pumped on to the huge tailings pond for disposal. The mineral concentrate is then shipped to the cokeing ovens then on to the smelter where the minerals are separated in a molten form and cast into ingots for easier handling. There is enough gold in the ore rock to help pay for some of the operations.
Continue on U-101 for 3.8 miles to the former town site of Garfield. When the road curves to the left heading west, you will turn to your right and east then come to a locked gate. This is KCC property and the cave mentioned in the emigrant diaries is on the east side of the rock outcropping which is now called Dead Mans Cave because a skeleton that was found in the cave by the emigrants. If we are granted permission we will visit the cave.
Heinrich Lienhard tells about leaving the Wasatch Mountains and heading toward some reddish brown mountain:
"On August 8 we left the Wasatch Mountains to our left or to our rear and set out in a southwesterly direction toward another reddish brown mountain [the Oquirrh Mountains], which in the exceedingly bright and clear morning air appeared to be hardly 6 miles away, though before this day was over we could testify that it was fully twice that distance. Ten miles on across a plain brought us to a swampy section, where bulrushes and a little rank marsh grass grew, through which the road yet took us. The water was salty and unpalatable, so that the stock refused it. Two miles farther on, we arrived at the foot of the mountain, where a large, crystalline spring, somewhat warm and a little brackish, welled out of the ground. We halted here a short time, so that our stock might gain a little rest. Where the spring broke out of the ground, it formed a beautiful basin, in which, not even taking off our clothes, several of us bathed. In the vicinity of this spring stood an immense, isolated, rounded rock under which was a cave [Dead Man's Cave], and those going into it found a human skeleton. ..."
After visiting the cave turn around and go back to 201. We will continue on westward for 4.3 miles past the KCC smelter with its 1200 foot stack to the great Salt Lake view area. Notice the bulrushes on the right and left of the road. This is a wet area so the trail would still be over at the foot of the mountain. Lienhard again:
"... We passed along the occasionally marshy shore at the south end of the Salt Lake and camped finally at a large spring at the foot of the mountains [Lake Point], the water of which was slightly brackish. An expanse of swampy meadowland here separated us from the lake. We must have made about 6 miles this afternoon."
We continue on around the point and take I-80 exit # 99 to TA Travel Center. Get on the inside lane and after crossing the interstate structure we will make a left hand turn on to the service & frontage road which heads back northeast. Traveling 0.7 miles we see a house on the right hand side and north of the house is a spring with its water running over a concrete weir. The water from this spring forms the little lake between the service road and the freeway. The emigrants had to go on the east side of this spring. The pond of water on the left side of the road is from the spring.
Continue on this road (which is the Lincoln Highway and is now called Lake Shore Drive) that goes around a bend and then south for 1.3 miles, where you will see a wire gate on the right hand side that says "no trespassing". The Ensign Ranches own this property and have given us permission to access the rail post which is over by the group of Chinese Elms to the southwest. The author of this paper believes the trees have grown up in a dried up spring bed. Note how the trees are all grouped together in a slight depression. No other trees are growing outside of this bunch.
The post is setting in a distinct rut or depression which goes past the trees and into the next field where it fades out in the field. The plaque on the rail post reads:
"Traveled to the clear cold springs -five miles. Mountains close to the left, bluffs and big Salt Lake to the right."
John Udell, July 20, 1850.
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-6
The ruts in this field are about 250 feet from the road. When the weeds and grass are cut you can trace the distinct ruts which start some 2 to 300 hundred feet north and continue through the east end of the trees and on to the south about 300 feet, disappearing in the field.
A long time resident who lived north and across the street, informed us that all of the area west of the big ditch, which is just to the west, was nothing but wet ground & grass land when he first came here then pumping of the ground water lowered the water table and dried up some springs and the wet ground, making it available for farming. We also received information that there were emigrant graves near the trail ruts in this field. Archeologist searched by digging several trenches for the graves on two occasions but were unsuccessful in locating them.
Heinrich Lienhard wrote in his diary: "On August 9 we continued our journey westward, to round the south end of the lake. Ripstein an American named Bunzel and I walked some distance ahead of our wagons and came to a place where the road passed close to the lake. The morning was so delightfully warm and the quick clear water, without any animal life, so inviting that we soon resolved to take a salt water bath. . . ."
Lienhard goes on to tell of his experience of floating & swimming in the lake and the consequence of dry salt on their bodies.
Apparently Lienhards company left the main trail at lake point where the A/T travel buildings are and took a course west on a gravel spit or bar formed by the waters of Lake Bonneville. The bar is some 10 to 20 feet above the beach of the lake. If you look to the west you will note some large abandoned grey and blue colored buildings. This is the abandoned Hardy Salt Plant which sits on the gravel bar. The author has followed a gravel road on this bar west around the edge of the lake for some six miles. This was probably the route Lienhard had taken close to the lake which would be some 1.5 miles north from Adobe Rock, the springs there and the main trail.
Leave the rail post area and return to the paved road. The road is the Transcontinental Lincoln Highway that went through here after 1913.
Turn right on the road and drive south 0.2 miles to the next street which is Sunset Road then turn right again and drive by an old church and school 0.5 miles to Mountain View Drive. Turn left and go south on Mt View Road 0.4 miles until you come to a cross road stop sign. We will take Center Street that angles to the right [southwest] follow this road to a stop sign by a church then straight up the hill and down until you come to a bend in the road to the right. Just to the east on the north side of this gravel road is a trail depression. A 1856 GLO survey map shows a variance of the trail turning to the west. KCC, without knowing it, excavated the ground north and east of here tearing out some pristine trail depressions. The GLO map also shows a trail going west to the old mill that was being constructed in 1850 and another trail south.
Notice the prominent rock outcropping on your right [north] this is ADOBE ROCK so named because of a adobe house built here by Stansbury for his herders in 1849-50. Reed states in his journal supplement published in the Springfield Illinois Journal, December 9, 1847 that:
"...We overtook Mr. Hastings at a place we called Black Rock [probably Adobe Rock], south end of Salt Lake, leaving McCutcheon [Pike] and Stanton here, their horses having failed. I obtained a fresh horse from the company Hastings was piloting, and started on my return to our company, with Mr. Hastings. ..."
Another variance of the trail on the 1856 GLO map shows a trail going on the north side of adobe rock to the springs where the trees and ranch are west of Adobe Rock and west of Highway U-36 . Historians feel that these springs are where James Reed caught up with Lansford Hastings and had him go back to show him the way over the Wasatch Mountains.
Proceed right to the west on this road to a traffic control signal on U-36 then proceed across and on to the turn out for the Old Mill on your right, which is the oldest building in Tooele County. Note the deep wash on the west side of the building. The wash at this point would prevent the emigrant wagons from crossing. A 1959 aerial photo, in the authors possession, shows a trail going south along the mill stream south east from the Old Mill and where the condominiums now sit. It also shows a distinct trail going through a grain field in this area, this of course was before the buildings were constructed.
After reading the historic markers at the Old Mill turnout, turn around and head back east for a short distance to the first road on your right which will take you past the condos in a curve to the left. This is Stansbury Parkway street, follow this road for 0.5 miles to a street without a name just west of U-36. Turn right and travel 0.3 mile to the rail post marker on the lawn on your right. This marker reads:
"They was building a mill a saw mill we then went about a mile to the good spring caled Bentons mill springs one was salt ... we then camped being very tired"
Sarah Davis, Aug. 23, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-7
The two Mill Springs are in the deep wash to the northwest of the marker.
Mathers on August 8th stated: ". . .After leaving the mountain we found two very large springs coming out in a deep ravine but a few feet apart one was salt & the other fresh and very good but has a little alkaline taste. ..."
From the Rail Post, continue south on the road which will curve around then come to a stop sign at 0.8 mile. Turn left and then drive to a traffic signal. Turn right at the light on to U-36 and follow it for 1.9 miles to the Erda Road which heads west. Stansbury's map of 1849 shows a semi circular bend to the southwest and then northwest to Grantsville. The author has attempted to follow the approximate location of the trail by staying above the springs along this route. Jefferson states that it was 14 miles between camps at Adobe Rock and Twenty Wells.
Travel on the Erda Road to the west for 5.8 miles until you come to the road going to Grantsville, which is Highway U-138. Turn left and travel on this road for 3.0 miles which becomes Grantsville Main Street. Then turn right on Hale street, drive to the north one block to Clark Street. According to the 1856 GLO map - the route we are following since coming on U-138, is close to the location of the original route of the Hastings Trail. Continue on Clark Street 0.5 mile to Cooley Street. Notice the old, white, building on the southwest corner. This is now Granstville's Donner Museum. The building, was used as a school originally and was within the Fort walls which was built here when the Mormons settled the area after 1850.
The Museum is worth a visit to see the relics gathered from the Desert. Across the steet near the stop sign, is a obelisk with a plaque telling about the Fort built here in 1853. Cooley street was the center of the Fort. The 1856 GLO survey shows North Willow Creek which came down the valley from the mountains to the south an then apparently seeped into the ground in this area branching out to the east in two streams before it got to the fort and the third one ran right through the fort. This area where the steams branched out with all its willows is the approximate location of the camping ground on Willow Creek mentioned by the emigrants. The GLO map shows some 14 of Hastings wells in the area from the fort to almost a half mile east of the fort. The wells have since been filled in and very few remnants remain today. See the 1856 GLO Map of Grantsville & Twenty Wells.
CARLTON JONES in 1850 wrote in his journal:
"Monday [August] the 12'h traveled to willow Creek 25 miles passing many Springs Strongly impregnated with Salt[.] no good water until we got to willow Creek whare we found good water and grass[.] here we suppled ourselves with grass for the Great Desert[.]"
FINLEY McDIARMID on the 13th of august wrote to his wife in 1850:
"Ten or twelve miles from this place we reach Willow Creek. So called from the quantity of willows on the edge of the stream. This is the first pleasant pure fresh water since leaving the city. Roads dreadful dusty. Abundance of grass here and of an excellent quality. Plenty of dry willows for wood; this is quite a luxury. Passed four dead oxen. We camp upon the bank of this creek.
This was the first mention of dead animals after leaving Salt Lake City.
After visiting the Museum, continue west on Clark Street past the Grantsville Cemetery on the left. Drive 0.4 mile west on Clark Street from the museum until you come to the Lincoln Highway, turn right and drive on this road for 0.2 mile until you come to a right hand fork in the road which is 600 west street. Turn right and travel 0.9 mile to a road called Piccadilly or 800 north. Turn left and drive to the end of the gravel road by a white house. The owners have given us permission to park and walk to the willows to the west. The water in this area comes from two of the wells.
Turn around and drive back to the Lincoln Highway then turn right and travel 2.4 miles to a rail post marker which reads:
"Morning cool and pleasant and we made and early start and travelled over a saleratus plain and around the spur of the mountain. ..."
Hugh Alexander Skinner, July 21, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-8
This marker was placed next to this right of way fence and about 150 feet across the fence is the remains of the trail which was destroyed by the owners plowing up the ground three years ago. This was a pristine trail, part of which came from the bottom of the hill, out of the meadow land to the east, and the rest is the main trail heading onward.
Continue driving west. The gray house on your right sits right on the trail. Drive west until you come to a stop sign. Turn right, this is old U.S. 40 now U-138. Continue on this road. 0.5 mile to Bonneville Sea Base. The trail is on your right. When you come to the driveway to the hot springs you will note the trail on both sides of the fence. Carlton Jones is the only emigrant that mentions these hot springs:
"Tuesday the 13th left willow Creek and traveled west [northwest] and South [south after rounding Timpie Point] passing many large Boiling Springs verry strongly impregnated with Salt. Camped at the foot of mountain near an sulphur Spring [Big Springs] but little grass and no wood[.]"
From the driveway of the hot springs, drive 0.4 mile to where the trail crosses the road to the left side because of the lower wet area. The trail continues at the edge of the wet area and crosses back over the road just south of a power pole, 0.5 mile. Continue a little farther to a metal gate in the fence on your right hand side. You need a key from an X road member to unlock the gate. Go through the gate, closing it, locking it then drive about 100 feet to the trail.
Drive down the trail which goes down a slight hill to the mud flats. You should note the tracks of the wagons in the mud. Continue on and look for where the trail splits and runs parallel to each other. You will come to some dirt berms, follow along the east side of the berm. This dirt berm was created to protect thousands of old tires which were stored here for years. The tires were removed just recently. Continue to the corner of the berm then drive a hundred feet or so on the north side of the berm until you come to the trail again. One can still see remnants of the trail on the inside of the berm where the tires were stored.
Continue on the trail. You will note that the trail splits into 4 parallel trails. Following the trail you will note where it comes back together or is just a wide single trail. You will come to another rail post marker, this one reads:
"This is the most drying climate I ever was in. Got a late start, travelled 35 miles by a little after dark; very dusty road most of the way."
Henry S. Bloom, July 29, 1850"
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 9
Take the dirt road on the left and drive to the wire gate and close it after you. Turn right drive upon the paved road for 0.2 mile then turn left on Ellerbeck Road which was old US 40. The main U-138 curves to the right over the Hasting Trail. Note the trail continuing on northwest between the power poles. After turning left at the bend of U-138 onto old US-40, drive to the lime plant 0.4 mile for permission to continue on the trail. With permission, drive on the gravel road on the north side of the plant [which was the Lincoln Highway] and follow it to the right over a small hill. Drive down the hill and you will see the multiple trails on your right. Follow the trail to the next small hill where it crosses the road and stays close to the mountain. The road is blocked ahead so return on this gravel road to the plant and once again you come to the old pavement. Turn left.
Just on the north side of the small rock pinnacle on your left and across the railroad track, is the trail going right next to the pinnacle, on the north side, to avoid the wet area ahead. Continue on the pavement for 1.4 miles. You should be just opposite the Chemstar Lime Plant entrance [formerly the Dolomite Lime Plant]. This plant was built right on the trail some 65 years ago and has never been moved. Continue on for 0.6 mile where you will see a gravel road on you left. This road has a no trespassing & posted sign on it. With permission turn left 0.4 mile and drive up around the Springs to the right. This is Timpie Springs. The trail is on the south side of the spring. This Spring has been mistakenly called Big Springs, but we were corrected by an elderly Gentleman, named Myron Sutton, from Grantsville who stated that this spring is Timpie Spring.
The Lincoln Highway goes past the upper side of the spring and is the straight gravel covered road heading northwest. The gravel road you are on by the spring, is the Hasting Cutoff which has been extensively used and has had its pristine condition destroyed. From Timpie Spring follow the trail, or gravel road, for 3.8 miles where it avoids the wet marsh grass that the Lincoln Highway had to build a fill from one to two feet in order to cross. The trail also avoids most of the high sage brush with its thorns and stays right at the toe or foot of the Stansbury Mountains until it goes around Timpie Point and on a past Big Springs. The grass on the right side of the trail was burnt off in 2001 and the author drove between the trail and the Lincoln Highway several times and could not see any ruts nor evidence or indication of any other trail.
HEINRICH LIENHARD continues: "On the 14th of August we at last went on again. ... Our road led along the base of the mountains in a northerly direction a distance of ten or 12 miles, then we bent again to the left around the point of the mountain, thus leaving the Salt Lake to our right and gradually receding from it."
Following the gravel road one must be cautioned about driving on this road because of the deep holes that are full of water in the spring and early summer. A high clearance vehicle is recommended. When approaching the Lincoln Highway, look on the right side of the road where you will see a trail depression through some tall sage brush. This is a pristine section of the trail in this area. It is about 500 feet long. As the road goes around a point over some big rocks you can see the trail right at the toe of the mountain avoiding the rocks and on the edge of the marsh grass. This continues around the point to the next cove.
Do not try the above mentioned gravel road in wet weather, avoid the deep holes which would be full of water. Retrace your steps past Timpie Springs to Old US-40. Turn left on the pavement and go 3.0 miles to a turnoff on the left which will take you into another cove. As you turn left you will immediately cross the Lincoln Highway and right next to it is the Hastings trail through some marsh grass. This is a pristine trail which is perfect for 0.5 miles of hiking. As you hike the trail it leads out of the wet area on to the fringe of the grass and the sage brush. The trail is perfectly smooth with one big sage brush growing in the middle of it. Walking west you will see a white carsonite marker on the trail then the trail gradually curves to the right and heads directly for Timpie Point. In this area, on the bend, the author found a weathered barrel top.
The drivers and vehicles can continue on the gravel road 0.9 mile over to the point where the hikers can be picked up. The trail continued around Timpie Point probably on the edge of wet, marsh grass. The point has since been cut back to make room for Interstate 80. You will note a road going up over the point. THAT IS NOT THE HASTINGS CUTOFF TRAIL. Many trail buffs ask if that was the trail going over the point. It is not.
Drive up this very rough road to the top of the point. On the top is a rail post marker honoring Jedediah Smith when he came this way in 1827 after crossing the center of Nevada for over a month and not knowing where he was until he came to this point. The plaque reads:
"Coming to the point of the ridge ... I saw an expanse of water Extending far to the North and East. The Salt Lake a joyful sight was spread before us. ... I durst scarcely believe that it was really the Big Salt Lake that I saw. It was indeed a most cheering view ... Those who may chance to read this at a distance from the scene may perhaps be surprised that the sight of this lake ... excited in me these feelings known to the traveler who after long and perilous journeying comes again in view of his home. ... I had traveled so much in the vicinity of the Salt Lake that it had become my home of the wilderness."
Jedediah Strong Smith, June 27, 1827
2002 Utah Westerners Foundation & Utah Crossroads Chapter OCTA
Standing on the point one has a view of a transportation corridor that went around the point: Fremonts exploration trail of 1845; The Hastings Trail, in 1846; The Western Pacific Railroad [now the Union Pacific] came past here in 1909; The Lincoln Highway in 1913; U.S 40 around 1940; and Interstate 80 about 1980.
Looking back to the east, you can see abandoned U.S. 40, then the Lincoln Highway, and then the Hastings Trail faintly bending in a curve in the sage brush heading for the north end of the point. Walk to the west side of the point. Looking down below the point you can see the Lincoln Highway, and closer to the point the outlines of the Hasting Trail ruts. The trail goes around to the Springs.
JAMES CLYMAN wrote while he and HASTINGS were going eastward on May 27 & 28th 1846:
"1846 June the 1st. proceeded nearly east to the point of a high mountain [Oquirrh Mountains] that Bounds the Southern part of the greate salt lake I observed that this lake like all the rest of this wide spread Sterility has nearly wasted away one half of its surface since 1825  when I floated around it in my Bull Boate and we crossed a large Bay of this Lake with our horses which is now dry and continued up the South side of the Lake to the vally near the outlet [Jordan River] of the Eutaw Lake and encamped at a fine large spring of Brackish water 20 miles to [sic] today"
Drive cautiously down from the point on the west side 0.6 mile and around the rock outcrop to Big Springs. Here you will see another rail post marker which reads:
"Traveled 15 m and encamped by a point of the mountain at a very large spring of brackish water and but little grass". ...
James Mathers, Aug 10, 1846
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-10
Most of the emigrants mentioned these springs and felt the water was too brackish. The trail had to go right on the east side of these springs as did the Lincoln Highway. Look ahead to the south and you can see a straight one lane gravel road, this is the LH. Mark your odometer then drive down this road and if you look to your right in the tall sage brush you can make out the trail. There is a white carsonite marker in the trail almost hidden by the tall brush. Continuing on down this road and you will note the trail moving farther away from you. Travel 2.8 miles and turn right off of the L.H. road and then cross the trail which is plain to see. Continue on to the the paved road which is now U-196, and which goes from I-80 to the Dugway Proving Grounds. Turn left on U-196 and travel south marking your odometer reading. Look to your right and you will see Lone Rock which was noted by some of the emigrants. Lone Rock has many different colored lichens growing on the north side and is the type local for lichens in Utah.
Proceed south for 2.0 miles to the crossing of the trail from the left side to the right side of the road. Continue on to a gravel lane on the right, follow it 0.4 mile and you will note a low meadow on your right. This is the Burnt Springs area. Some of the emigrant diaries indicate that these springs were used by the early emigrants. The springs have since been dried up by the Magnesium Corporation pumping of the ground water in the foothills to the southeast. Continue south on U-196 , you will note some power poles and small concrete block pump sheds, these are the wells of Mag Corp. The water is used at their Rowley Magnesium Plant some 15 or so miles to the northwest.
The trail is located in the fields to the right and parallels the highway. Drive further south 3.9 miles to the B.L.M. Horseshoe Springs access road then turn right and drive down to the turn around at the springs. The Hastings Trail passes by the BLM sign on the north side and if you look further north you will see a white carsonite marker, this is place where some of the emigrants turned off of the main trail and headed up to Dell Springs, some good springs in the foothills. This trail I call the Forty Niner trail for the Forty Niners who drove their wagons and stock up to the springs. If you look south from this turn around you will see the main Hastings Trail heading on south.
Drive slowly back to the highway and you will see a rail post on your right. It is placed next to the Forty Niner Trail which you can readily see to the south, southeast. The plaque reads:
"Seven miles brought us where the road forked the left hand one leading up a ravine towards the mountain. We took it. ..."
Madison Berryman Moorman, July 27, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-11
JOHN WOOD in 1850, tells of his travels to Dell Springs:
"2d. - Bright and early, this morning, we were on the road and traveled on through dust and heat for eighteen miles, when we reached two good springs, away up on the side of a mountain, two miles from the road, and going these two last miles, up hill, you ought to have seen the bullocks heave when they smelt the water; . . ."
Drive back to U-189 then turn right and reset the odometer. Drive 1.4 miles and you will see a gravel road on your left with two tall poles and a cable with sign in between. Turn left on to this road and travel 1.9 miles up through a wash and up a hill and then you will come to a fork in the road, take the right hand fork. Drive 0.8 mile further and after crossing a small stream of water you will see a faint road on your left, take it and drive to a rail post. The post is next to Dell Springs. This is the area the Forty Niners camped. The rail post plaque reads:
"... we reached 2 good springs, away up on the side of a mountain, two miles from the road. ...about fifty wagons are now camped here" ...
John Wood. Aug 2, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-12
While you are here at Dell Springs, look around and see if you can see any wild turkeys. On one of our trips we saw 30 turkeys here below the springs.
Backtrack down the same road you came up on until you come back to U-189 then turn left going south. Drive down the road 1.0 miles, slow down, note the white carsonite marker on the left, a pipe going under the highway and a wash going down the hill on the right in a southwest direction. This was a trail depression deepened by water erosion. Continue on south for 1.0 miles until you see a fence and gate on the right. You will cross the Lincoln Highway as you turn right. You will come to a gate with a lock on it , get permission from the BLM ????to unlock the gate. Open or close the gate as you found it then drive to the point in front of you. You will pass a fork in the road, the left hand fork goes down the hill and comes into the Hastings Trail. Keep on the right hand road to the point.
Standing on the rock point you will notice below you the Hastings Cutoff and to your right [north] you will see the Forty Niner Trail coming back into the Hastings Trail from Dell Springs. To the southwest you will see a small lake. This is Kanaka Lake named by the Mormon Hawaiians when they homesteaded just south of here. Look on the rocks to your left and you will find some Indian petroglyphs consisting of concentric circles etched into the rock surfaces.
Return to the main highway then turn right. Travel 2.1 miles, the road will bend to your left and on your right you will see a gravel road going back north to a gate. You want to go through this gate to see the remains of Hope Wells and its rail post and plaque but first obtain permission from the Ranch people either at the sheds and barns on the west or right side of the road or the first house on the east side of the road to the left. This is now the Ensign Ranch property and courtesy dictates that you should receive permission before entering. This ranch was formally the Desert Livestock Co. and initially Iosepa - a Mormon Hawaiian homestead community.
After receiving permission, drive north through the gate and drive up to the willow trees on the north end. Here you will see a new fence and a rail post just across the fence. The rail post reads:
"The writing was that of Hastings, and her patchwork brought out the following words: 2 days -2 nights -hard driving-cross -desert-reach water."
Eliza P. Donner Houghton, Aug 27, 1846
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU-13
The following quotes of J. QUINN THORNTON are from the footnotes in West From Fort Bridger [WFB]: At Hope Wells, Thornton said the company "found a letter from Lansford W. Hastings, informing them that it would occupy two days and nights of hard driving to reach the next water and grass." Eliza P. Donner Houghton, who was only four years old at the time, but who perhaps draws upon the recollections of the older children, writes in The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate (Chicago, 1911):
"Close by the largest well stood a rueful spectacle,—a bewildering guide board, flecked with bits of white paper, showing that the notice or message which had recently been pasted and tacked thereon had since been stripped off in irregular bits. In surprise and consternation, the emigrants gazed at its blank face, then toward the dreary waste beyond. Presently my mother [Tamsen Donner] knelt before it and began searching for fragments of paper, which she believed crows had wantonly pecked off and dropped to the ground. Spurred by her zeal, others also were soon on their knees, scratching among the grasses and sifting the loose soil through their fingers."
"What they found, they brought to her and after the search ended she took the guide board, laid it across her lap, and thoughtfully began fitting the ragged edges of paper together and matching the scraps to marks on the board. The tedious process was watched with spellbound interest by the anxious group around her. The writing was that of Hastings, and her patchwork brought out the following words: ‘2 days—2 nights—hard driving—cross—desert—reach water.'"
ELIZA DONNER explained about Tamsen Donner piecing together, like a jigsaw puzzle, the torn up note left by Hastings.
The fresh water springs in this area were called Hope Wells. These springs have been depleted due to the pumping of water from the wells to the south and east of here. There is still a spring just a few feet from the post and on this side of the fence. If you look to the meadows to the northwest and west, you can still see the extensive meadows from which the emigrants cut grass to feed their livestock when they were crossing the mud flats. Like the emigrants wrote in their diaries, this was the last good water and abundant feed for the next 93 miles. Return to U-189 and make sure the gate is closed and secured.
HEINRICH LIENHARD finally leaves Hope Wells and crosses Skull Valley to Redlum Spring [WFB]:
"The 17th of August dawned with our stock lying here and there in the grass, contentedly chewing their cuds. The carefree time now past, each of us was occupied loading into the wagons the prepared grass and the small, water-filled receptacles, and that with all possible care, so that under no circumstances should any be lost. The oxen we led once more to water, for now they could drink all they might desire, but this would not be the case hereafter. It was 9 o'clock by the time we set off. Before us lay a broad salt plain or valley [Skull Valley], where grew only a very little thorny, stunted vegetation; indeed, the ground was often a salt crust. Our direction was northwesterly, in a straight line to the mountain opposite [Cedar Mountains]. After a time the road began to ascend a hill, ..."
At the highway turn right and if you would like a side tour to the Hawaiian Cemetery turn left between the two houses, and cross a cattle guard. The community of Iosepa [which means Joseph] was east of the two houses where there are several remaining foundations. Proceed on the gravel road to the left for 0.8 mile to the cemetery where some of the Hawaiians who lived in Iosepa are buried. After your visit return to the main highway.
You will now proceed to Redlum Springs across the valley. At the highway turn south or left and travel 1.6 miles to a dirt road on the west side turn right on this road. Travel west on this road for 1.3 miles. The road will bend to the right and then back to the left. Drive 3.7 miles and look for the turn off on your right. When you have found it turn right or north and drive for 2.9 miles until you come to a white carsonite on your left. The carsonite is on the side of the Hastings Cutoff Trail which bears northwest from Hope Wells. Turn left and drive on the trail. You will come to a playa or mud flat which the trail crosses. Continue until you come to a dry wash. Look for the place to cross the wash and pull up on the steep west bank. The trail from here is hard to follow in places but if you look carefully you will see it. Follow it until you came to a fence without a gate. If you have passenger who would like to walk the trail, this is a good place to hike it for a easy one mile hike after crossing the fence.
All vehicles turn left [west] at the fence and follow the faint road until you come to the main gravel road then turn right over the cattle guard. Follow this gravel road for 0.9 mile to where the trail crosses the road and where you will pick up your passengers. There is a white carsonite on the right.
Continue west on this road. Look to your left and you will see the trail across a wash then the trail is the wash because it has been eroded over time by rain waters in the trail depressions. You will come to a big wash after 0.9 mile. The road turns up this wash. If you will look on your right when you turn up the wash or ravine you will see a white carsonite trail marker on the other side. The trail climbed upon the table land while the present gravel road follows up the big wash then climbs out on the right side to a fork in the road (1.0 mile). When on top of the tableland at the fork, turn left, follow the road west to where it forks again, take the right hand road for 0.3 mile to the spring. You will notice on the right hand side toward the spring the trail swale or a depression. Near the spring on the left, is a rail post down near the wash. You can walk down to the post or drive. The rail post plaque reads:
"... started for the deseret, passing a salaratus spring in a ravine on the left at the foot of the mountains which we passed. ..."
Hugh Alexander Skinner, July 22, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU -14
A note in West From Fort Bridger says [WFB]:
"Redlum Spring produces little water late in the summer, . . . It is also to be remarked, however, on the basis of the experience of those who traveled the Hastings Cutoff in 1850, that water could be had in many places here by digging for it. This may explain some of the variant information about the character and location of the sulfur-tainted water to which, in reading through the journals of the overland immigrants, we have given the generic name of Redlum Spring."
Redlum Spring is down in the wash below the rail post. You will be able to tell where the water is by the willows and cat tails. This spring has a small flow but some of the emigrants would dig a excavation or small ditch so the animals could drink. Heinrich Lienhard wrote:
"... and about half-past 1 o'clock we reached a spring rather high on the mountainside. We halted here solely that our stock might drink; however, the water, although attractive to look at, was quite salty and the stock were not yet thirsty enough to drink it. Similarly, the small supply of coarse grass in no wise served, for they were not hungry enough to eat it."
JAMES REED after he reached the spring said:
"Son [sunday] 30 made this day—12 [miles] to a Sulpher Spring [Redlum Spring] in the mountain which ought to be avoided water not good for Cattle, emigrants Should keep on the edge of the lake and avoid the mountain entirely here Commenced the long drive through the Salt dessert." [ Underlined for reference].
What Reed is saying, the emigrants should avoid the mountain by continuing west from Big Springs at Timpie Point, through Lowe Pass, missing Redlum Springs and Hastings Pass altogether. This would have added additional mileage to the dry drive since there isn't any water in Lowe Pass but would have been easier on the animals because of the easy pass.
After visiting the spring, retrace your road to the first fork in the road. Turn left and continue on the main road to the north across a wash and until you see another white carsonite marker on your right which is probably the trail. Continue until you again come to a fork in the road. From Redlum to this road is 2.2 miles. Take the left hand fork which will take you up and over Hastings Canyon. The road on the right will take you north about 8 miles to the I-80 Delle Interchange.
FINLEY McDIARMID wrote: "6th day of August....From this copperass spring the road passes over a succession of rough steep hills, by far the most perpendicular of any we have found upon the whole route, bearing north of west for the distance of 40 miles [for the day ?] when we gained the summit where we begin to descend similar hills upon the west side of the mountain until we come to the desert, which is level; and the road from one to two feet deep with sand and dust. ..."
Record your odometer reading before proceeding up the left fork to the west. You will climb a hill until you can see across the ravine on your left. The trail is on the other side by the rock outcropping. Continue on the road from the Delle road 0.9 mile, where it enters the wash or ravine. The trail climbs down into the ravine Just in head and left of you. The trail follows the ravine in the bottom. Proceed up the canyon for 1.0 mile to a faint road on your left. Take this road which will take you around a rock hill and come back into the main road at 0.2 mile. Where the round about road comes back into the main road, look down into the wash on your right and you will see a rock ledge which the emigrants with their wagons would have had to climb over if they came up the main wash. There is no scour marks on the rock ledge that is why the author of this tour feels the emigrants took the round about way.
Continue and look down on your right and you will see the trail. We came up in this canyon after a fire burn in 1995 and noted this distinct trail. Travel 0.6 mile to where the present day road crosses over the trail. At this point the trail begins to climb up the hogsback on our left. Continuing up main canyon the road you will note how steep the canyon becomes and why the trail goes up the less steep hogsback.
Proceed to the summit 0.5 mile from where the trail crosses and take the road on the left. This road follows the ridge and climbs to the summit of the hogsback 0.3 mile where you will see a rail post and plaque. The plaque reads:
"Turning west up each practicable ravine the distance of some six or 7 miles to the top of the ridge, the last two miles of which was up some very steep hills."
Pardon Dexter Tiffany, July 25, 1849
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 15
Looking down from the summit to the east you will see the pristine trail coming up the hogs back and a great view of Hastings Canyon and Skull Valley to the southeast. Standing on this summit you can imagine the wagons being pulled to this point and the yokes of oxen side stepping on the slope to their right in order to turn the wagons on the top of the hill, then going down this hill to the dugway that was constructed by the lead emigrants companies down into the canyon on the west. You can see the dugway at the bottom of this hill just to the north.
JOHN WOOD tells us about crossing over Hastings Pass:
"About 1 o'clock to-day we started into the field of desolation; for the first fourteen miles we had to travel over a very high and rough mountain, the road over which being so rough and sidling that we had to hold our wagons from upsetting, with ropes. . . . [ probably on the summit and dugway] "
Because of the mountain tops to the west you have no view of the country ahead.
Turn around as best you can on this narrow ridge and drive back to the main road, and turn left. Record your odometer reading then continue on down the west side for 0.1 mile, this is where the trail meets the road in the canyon from the dugway. Continue on down the canyon for 1.4 miles to where you are opposite the big Aragonite Mine on the right. Aragonite is a water calcium carbonate deposit like the deposits in caverns etc. It was used as a decorative stone and was mined here then hauled down to the Railroad at the now abandoned Aragonite Plant. Continue down the road for 0.3 mile. This is where the Hastings Trail start up over this mountain spur on the right. Drive on around the spur for 0.1 mile to a rail post just above the road on the right.
The plaque on the rail post reads:
"When we go to the foot on the other side we rested our cattle, and took some supper. In an hour we started on our nights journey."
Anonymous, Aug 5, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 16
If you look back up the hill you can see the Hastings Trail coming down through the cedars. Turn around and look west. On a clear day Pilot Peak is visible about 60 miles in the distance. Notice Interstate 80 & the Railroad curving over the mud flats. This curve is actually the curvature of the earth. The difference in elevation on the mud flats from Wendover to Knolls is only 5 feet.
Continuing down the road for 0.6 mile, stop and notice the trail depression on the left. This road obliterated most of the trail down to and just beyond the Railroad.
HEINRICH LIENHARD tells about traveling down from Hastings Pass:
"... a boundless flat plain lying before us, an oppressive solitude as silent as the grave. The soil was composed of sand and gravel [Aragonite Road], from which nothing but small, thorny shrubs, grease wood, perhaps 1 l/2 feet high, eked out a miserable existence. Neither wolf nor antelope nor any other animal was to be seen or heard; however, lying scattered over the ground were the bones and gigantic horns of fallen mountain sheep and a few elk. The longer we continued on over the dusty, sandy road down toward the desolate plain, the darker it became. No sound was perceptible except our own muffled footfalls in the loose sand, which had been made unstable by the wagons and the hoofs of the livestock in advance of us. One behind the other, like so many recruits learning to march, we strode along without speaking. . . ."
Continuing our tour, at 1.6 miles you should come to a north-south paved road and on our left is the CLEANHARBORS burn plant. This plant burns toxic waste material such as PCB, paint, etc. Turn right on the asphalt pavement and travel north until you come to a railroad crossing and then at 2.1 miles a frontage road on your left. Turn left on the frontage road and travel 2.3 miles to where the road turns to the south. Across and on the west side of the road is a gate, go through it and pass the pump house and watering troughs, following the vehicle tracks down to the old Victory Highway then turn right on this barely visible road. Follow the road which will turn left then continue on until the road comes into the Hastings trail. Turn left to the berm of the hill by a carsonite marker. Exit the vehicles and look down into the washes where the trail comes across. It appears that the trail across the washes has not been used since it was abandoned after 1850.
Mount the vehicles and turn around then drive west on the south side of the trail. The Victory road used the trail for a short ways then headed directly west to Knolls. The Cutoff Trail after it goes around the rock point, turns to the northwest where it will cross I-80. Since there is no access to I-80 we must turn around and follow the tracks back past the pump building.
The fresh water from this 400 foot deep well is used for the Grassy Mountain Rest Area and is the only good water between Hope Wells and Pilot Springs. Follow the frontage road back to the Burn Plant Road then turn left and drive over the structure and take the west bound on ramp and drive west to the rest area on your right for a needed rest break.
After your break, continue west on I-80. At the bottom of the hill, if you look quick, you can see the white carsonite markers marking the trail on both sides of the road. Be careful and don't slow down too much because of the fast traffic. Before I-80 was built there was a rock monument on the north side of old US-40 that honored the Donner/Reed Party. The monument was removed to the State shed at Granstville but no one has seen it since. There is a rail post marker north of the frontage road which reads:
"Some 2 miles ahead of us we could see a rocky hill [Grayback Mountain] which rose about 40 feet above the plain, and over which the road led."
Heinrich Lienhard, Aug 18, 1846
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 17
Continue west to the next interchange which is called the Clive Interchange and take the exit. South of here is the depository for low grade, hazardous nuclear waste. After you come to the stop sign, then turn right and turn right again on to the frontage road and travel east 2.3 miles to a dirt road heading northwest. CAUTION: Do not take these dirt roads if it is raining or wet. The clay on these roads, when wet, is just like slippery soap. Turn left on the dirt road and drive 2.0 miles to where trail crossing area is. The author has flown over this area several times and the trail is easy to see from the air but on the ground it is very difficult to find. It also shows up good on aerial photos.
LIENHARD again: "Some 2 miles ahead of us we could see a rocky hill [Grayback Hills] which rose about 70 feet above the plain, and over which the road led."
Continue on dirt road for 0.3 mile to a two track road on the left. Take this road and travel 1.4 miles to a earth stock pond. You will travel on the north side of a mounded earth stock tank. This is a ranchers reservoir for rain water with just mounds of earth pushed up to retain the water from a small wash for watering stock. Continue west around the pond to a main graded dirt road then turn left and follow the road around a spur of the mountain and go up a valley then climb up a steep dugway to the top of Grayback. This dugway requires a 4 wheel drive. Once on the top make a sharp turn left and follow the rough wheel tracks to the south to a carsonite and steel rail marker on the summit where the trail crosses. The plaque on the steel rail marker reads:
"... and yet we crossed one steep hill in the night when we had to put our shoulders to the wheel in earnest, lifting the wheels over rocks three & four feet high ..."
John Wood. Aug 5, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 18
In the area of the rail post in 1975 the author found a small broken bitters bottle, which he gave to the BLM man with us, for analysis. This man was transferred and we never heard from him again. Looking back down the east side, the trail comes up a sort of natural dugway just below where the carsonite marker is. Further down is a wash which could have been the original eroded trail heading back to the south side of the stock tank where you can see the trail from the aerial photos. Turn around and walk to the west side where you can see where the black volcanic boulders, showing a white under belly, were turned over by the emigrants to make a road. If you look to the northwest you can see a parallel road on the south side of the trail. The trail has larger sage brush sporadically growing in it.
Turn your vehicle around and follow your tracks back down from the summit. Be especially careful going the few feet off the summit, it is treacherous & steep. Continue on down the valley and past the stock tank to the graded dirt road. Go right until you reach the frontage road then turn right again. Note your odometer reading then continue west and past the Clive Interchange; go up over the south flank of Grayback and look for a dirt road on your right at 1.8 miles from where you turned on to the frontage road.
Turn right on this dirt road [if it is dry] and travel 4.7 miles north-northwest where you will come to a cross road and a carsonite marker. Turn right and follow the tracks for 1.2 miles to the bottom of the Grayback Hills. This is where the emigrants came off of the ridge.
Where you turn around, there is a circle of rocks, that could have been for a fire pit used by the emigrants. One party mentions stopping in this area to eat and to rest.
Follow the tracks back and pass the carsonite. The trail trace and & any depression is on the right side within five to ten feet of your vehicle. Continue on this road for 2.05 miles, following the trace with its large sporadic sagebrush, until you come to a rail post. The plaque on the posts reads:
" We entered upon the hard smooth plain we had just been surveying.... composed of bluish clay, encrusted, in wavy lines, with a white saline substance...."
Edwin Bryant, Aug 3, 1846
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 19
This post is next to the side borrow cut that was made during the construction of the emergency flight strip for the Wendover Air Force training facility at the beginning of the 1942 World War II build up. The north end of the Flight Strip cut right across the Hastings Cutoff Trail. The trail can still be seen from the air on both sides of the strip.
Continuing on: After we leave the Smooth Plain marker, turn right on the edge of the flight strip borrow cut, note the odometer reading then follow the road north where it gradually comes into a gravel road. Continue on north for 3.25 miles then turn right for a short side trip of -----mile to some bomb craters on the flats. Turn around and follow the road back to the north south gravel road. For an experience of what its like in the middle of the mud flats take the tour on the Magnesium Corporation evaporating pond dikes.
Note the odometer reading at the north, south gravel road then proceed westward. At -----miles you will come to a gate that could be open or closed. Keep going for ----- miles to another gate that is generally open. This gate is on the edge of a sand dune which could be soft or firm, in any case put your vehicle in four wheel drive and gun it over the dune. Continue on for -----miles to the next dune and follow the same advice. NOTE: this east west dike is south of the Air Force south Bombing Boundary. On the right or north side is the bombing range and on the left hand or south side is BLM Public Domain. Proceed for -----miles where the dike will make a 45 degree turn to the left. Keep going for ------miles to another bend in the dike. The dike is now heading south. Proceed for ----- miles to a point where I had placed a yellow carsonite on the trail before the water was pumped onto the flats.
The carsonite was on the left but is now gone. The cutoff trail is heading directly west from here toward Wendover. Being out here in the middle of nowhere will give you some idea of how the emigrants must have felt when they came through here during the day or at night.
Bryant again: "About eleven o'clock we struck A great white plain uniformly level, and utterly destitute of vegetation or any sign that shrub or plant had ever existed above the snow-like surface"
He said it was frightfully forbidding and unearthly, it gave them a shudder of apprehension, the mules even wanted to countermarch.
Bryant continues: "For fifteen miles the surface of this plain is so compact, that the feet of our animals, as we hurried them along over it, left but little if any impression for the guidance of the future traveller."
Continue on this one vehicle wide dike to the south. At -----miles you will come to the Mag Corp. pump area. The canal they dug comes from the Air Force Bombing Range boundary to the north and keeps its direct bearing to the south with the vehicle dike now following on the east side. Continue travel until you come to the east west highway protection dike. From this point you have two choices: If you have a key to Mag Corp. lock you can proceed on east to the Mag. Corp. locked gate. If you can exit this way then you can enter the I-80 freeway at the Knolls Interchange. Drive west on I-80 to just past mile post 25 then turn right on to the Newfoundland Basin evaporation pond west dike. Drive north on the dike for 12 miles to Floating Island.
The second choice [if you have no key] is to either turn around and drive back the way you came to the north and east then south to the Knolls Interchange and on to I-80 or drive west on the highway protection dike. WARNING: This dike has very sharp fractured rocks which can puncture your tires especially if they are a low ply tire. If you feel you can take this dike road then drive about 17 ???? miles on the dike to the west but be warned. When you get to the west dike you can now travel 12 miles to Floating island.
When you have arrived at the south west corner of the west dike to Floating island, then drive north on the dike for 13.3 miles to Floating Island, through the barrow pit and around to the east side of the Island. Look for a marker on the right side of the road. Turn of the road and follow the tracks through and around the hummocks towards the rail post that is on the flats. Be careful when driving on these mud flats. If they are wet, stay off. If your wheels begin to press into the mud, slowly turn around and park then walk to the rail post
The plaque on the rail post off of Floating Island reads:
"About five o'clock, p.m. we reached and passed, leaving it to our left, a small butte [Floating Island] rising solitary from the plains"
Edwin Bryant, Aug 3, 1846
2000 Utah crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 20
You will notice next to the post, a yellow carsonite marker and a six inch square concrete block. The concrete block was placed in 1986 by the author and his friend, Dan Miller. The blocks were spaced every 2000 feet along the trail from the Air Force Bombing Range Boundary to the north towards Silver Island Point. They are about 15 inches long and are buried in the center of the trail. The commander of the Hill Air Force Base did not want any markers on the trail but we put them in anyway.
Bryant continues telling about passing Floating island: Around this ground is uneven, and a few scattering shrubs, leafless and without verdure, raised themselves above the white sand and saline matter which seemed recently to have drifted so as nearly to conceal them."
The mud flats in this area were flooded with the salt water from Great Salt Lake pumping project in 1987 because of the increase in rise of the lake water. We came out to this area in 1990 and all we could see covering the area was about 4 inches of salt. We looked around for the concrete block and OCTA member, Dave Bigler, found a square block of salt and under it was the concrete block. We then placed the yellow carsonite by the block. Since then the rain and snow water has dissolved the salt and carried it north to the Newfoundland Basin, the lowest area on these flats. We later placed the Rail Post here by the block.
The Air Force, after the archeologist wagon digs of 1986-7, have since placed a wire fence on the west and south bombing range boundaries. They also have signs that warns everyone of the danger of being on the range. The archeologist wagon excavations were from 5 to 7 miles back south east from here. This is the main trail and there is a variance to this trail about 4 miles back. The author calls the variance trail the Retrieval Trail because it was not used as much as this main trail and probably was used for the retrieval of wagons left on the flats while the stock were taken to water at Donner Springs.
The isolated butte that Bryant talks about just west of here, is of course Floating Island. It was given this name because the Island seems to float in a mirage of water when you are driving along I-80 twelve miles south. The top portion of the Island stuck out of the surface of Prehistoric Lake Bonneville and the mud flats was the bottom of the lake. The mud flats were drilled many years ago, south west of here, to a depth of 8000 feet. The Island has an Indian cave or overhang on the south side which was found to be about 7000 years old, but has since been seal off with iron bars. Return to the main road on the Island.
Turn right on the road and travel 4.8 miles in a northwesterly direction from the island to a gravel bar and then to a short cutoff road to the main Silver Island Road. Look carefully for the cutoff with a - wood stake - pile of rocks - or you may miss it. Turn right on the cutoff then at the main well graded road turn right again. Continue on this road in a northeast direction for 3.9 miles until you come to the Silver Island Point where there is another rail post marker.
All of the emigrants had to come around this point. We placed a rail post here, the plaque reads:
"The roads were gravelly round the end of some high rocks. Barren mountains [Silver Island]."
Robert Chalmers, July 27, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 21
"Eight miles brought us to the northern end of a short range of mountains" [this is the Silver Island Mountains] "turning the point of which and bending our course to the left we gradually came upon higher ground, composed of compacted volcanic gravel." Bryant was once again, as he describes it, "upon terra firma."If you look to the southeast you might be able to see a gap in the sand dunes that was washed out by meteoric water from Silver Island. This gap allowed the emigrants to have easy access to the point from the flats. Both the main and the Retrieval Trail merged together in this gap, then spread out some to this point. The Retrieval Trail goes in a beeline from the main trail to this wash. If you were an emigrant coming back from the springs to pick up you wagon, you would be able to see the wagons back on the trail because on these flats mirages make them look twice as tall. Measured from the 7.5 minute quadrangle the Retrieval Trail is approximately 8 miles long to where it leaves the main trail. The main trail is 8.1 miles long to the same point.
JAMES W. DENVER wrote in 1850: "Turning a point of the mountain we had been coursing for some time, the road bent short to the left and passed over another rocky ridge also of volcanic origine. It was now sunrise on Sunday the 11th of August, ..."
Continuing west on the well graded road, mark your odometer again and travel ------miles to where the road curves to the left to avoid a wash. You will note that the first road in this area went straight down across this small wash. One must assume that this was where the emigrants first crossed. Years later when sheepherders were bringing their sheep and wagons they probably curved the road slightly to the left and later to where it is now for ease of the faster trucks and vehicles.
From all appearances this road was the original trail. The author and other Crossroads Members walked on both sides of this road in several places but could see no evidence of any other trail traces or depressions. Flying low over this area several different times, I could see no other trails.
Proceed along the road for to where the main road curves to the right and then back to the left around a ledge rock. There appears to be a remnant of the trail on the left side of the road near the rock.
Continue on for 6.2 miles where you will come to a fork in the road. the right hand fork is the main road the left is the original road built through this area. Keep on the left hand fork for to where you will see a white carsonite marker on the left side. This is where the trail went up the wash to avoid the sandstone conglomerate ledges ahead. Continue up the road and give your vehicle more power to climb the steep grade. Once on top you will travel to the left and come back on to the trail. There is a carsonite marker in the trail. Apparently a years ago bulldozer blazed a road up the wash destroying any vestige of the trail.
Continue west until you see the rail post. The road we are traveling curves to the right or north. The rail post is on the side of the trail which is still heading west. This is the Donner/Reed Summit. The plaque on the rail post reads:
"Got to the rock of misery, 65 miles, our water all gone and our horses nearly famished for water. Teams giving out, men lying by the side of the road in the hot sun speechless for the want of water."
Henry S. Bloom, Aug 2, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU- 22
Heinrich Lienhard had an interesting experience while he was going down this slope to the west, he records on August 19, 1846:
"Straight through the seeming expanse of water [a mirage] from the opposite shore, a black monster moved toward us like a frightful, giant snake, in a long, sinuous line. We all stared a long time at this puzzling apparition; it separated into detached parts, and we then supposed it must be a band of Indians. However, as we traveled slowly down the hill to meet them, we realized that what we saw was neither a monstrous snake nor friendly Indians, but a considerable number of men with oxen, a few mules, and horses, who were going back into the barren desert to recover their abandoned wagons."
This is another great opportunity to walk the trail down hill. While doing so think of what Lienhard saw. The first part of the trail from the rail post has been traveled by sheep herders but their road leaves the trail to the left. The rest of the trail to the main road is pristine. Look for scour marks on the limestone rocks. The drivers can drive the vehicles north for 0.3 mile to the main road. Turn left then travel on this road to the west for 0.8 mile to a white carsonite on the right side of the road. Wait here for your riders as they come down the trail.
After everyone is picked up from walking the trail, mark your odometer then drive to a cave around a rock point in front of you. This cave has a drip, drip, drip, amount of water in it. When Historian Charles Kelly was writing his book, Salt Desert Trails, he talked with Eugene Munsee at his homestead two miles south of Donner Springs in 1930. Munsee said that there was some water in a cave on Silver Island near the trail. This is the only cave that I know of with any water in it.
Continue on the road where you will pass some sheep pens on your right. A little further you will come to a road heading south over Silver Island Pass to the south side road of the range which goes to Wendover [SW] or to Silver island Point [NE]. After traveling 17.1 miles you will see an earth bunker on your right. During WW II there was an observation tower here with the bunker to observe the dropping of sand filled, practice replica atomic bombs and some standard bombs on a circular laid out bomb target, 0.6 mile just to the west of here.
Travel an additional 2.1 miles on the main road to a concrete block building on Leppy Pass and a fork in the road. The road on the left connects with the south side Silver Island Range road below the pass. It continues on to I-80 exit 4. Take the fork on the right in order to get to Donner Springs. Drive around the south side of the Wendover water treatment building , which is on the Pilot Peak to Wendover water line, mark you odometer reading at the building then proceed to the northwest.
You will cross a cattle guard, this is the Utah/Nevada State Line. Further on you will see a kiosk on our left, we will not stop here now but on the way over the pass. Continue on road for 18.0 miles to a locked gate. Unlock the Crossroads lock then drive east about a half mile to mud flats, turn left then drive 1.2 miles on the flats until you see a rail post and carsonite by the fence on the left at the edge of the flats. Park, look at trail coming from off the flats and read the plaque on the post which reads:
"...ever closer to the green grass when suddenly first one and then the other ox of our leading yoke fell, scarcely a quarter of mile from the grassy ground"
Heinrich Lienhard, Aug 19, 1846
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 23
HEINRICH LIENHARD comments when they were approaching the springs:
"In this valley there was a great quantity of the finest salt, often in a 2 inch-thick crust. Here and there flowed, a few inches deep, crystal-clear water which, however, was as salty as salts itself, and the poor cattle, tormented by their dreadful thirst, tried constantly to drink of it, only to shudder in consequence. Slowly we were nearing the huge, common camping place where a small village of wagons stood. To this point not a single head of our cattle had given out, and we were coming over closer to the green grass when suddenly first one and then the other ox of our leading yoke fell, scarcely a quarter of mile from the grassy ground. Zins and I had considerable difficulty getting them to their feet again, but after this was accomplished, we went slowly on until we arrived at the grass covered ground, and scarcely had the oxen reached there than they began to run as rapidly as though they were not at all tired. On arriving at the lower end of this wagon-village we stopped and freed the poor animals from their yokes. Fortunately the spring [Donner Springs] was so hedged about by the wagons that the cattle could not gain free access to it, and it was therefore necessary for them to satisfy their thirst slowly from the water that flowed over the ground and gathered in their own footprints. A full two hours passed before they seemed to get quite enough, after which their first need appeared to be rest."
Drive back to the gate, close and lock it or leave it like you found it. Turn right and travel 0.8 mile to a ranch drive way on the right. Stop when you enter the gate and you are facing east. Look straight down to the mud flats. If every thing is just right you should be able to see the trail on the flats. Follow the road left, and around the north side of the Foremans House then turn right and park by the fence. Walk over to the gate in the wood rail post fence around Donner Springs and see the kiosk panels that were placed by our Crossroads Chapter and dedicated in 1994. The pole fence, with the owners permission, was placed around the spring to protect the banks from being caved in by cattle. The spring in 1846 was only five to six feet in diameter.
EDWIN BRYANT recorded in his diary in August 1846 after reaching Donner Springs:
... "Men and mules on their first arrival, as we learned, had madly rushed into the stream and drank together of its muddy waters, -made muddy by their own disturbance of its shallow channel and sluggish current."
"Delay of gratification frequently gives a temporary relief to the cravings of hunger. The same remark is applicable to thirst. Some hours previously I had felt the pangs of thirst with an acuteness almost amounting to an agony. Now, when I had reached the spot where I could gratify my desires in this respect, they were greatly diminished. My first care was to unsaddle my mule and lead it to the stream, and my next to take a survey of the position of our encampment. I then procured a cup of muddy water, and drank it off with a good relish. ... The moon shone brilliantly, and [Richard T.] Jacob, Buchanan, [James] McClary, and myself, concluded we would trace the small stream of water until we could find the fountain spring. After considerable search among the reeds, willow, and luxuriant grass, we discovered a spring. Buchanan was so eager to obtain a draught of cold, pure water, that in dipping his cup for this purpose, the yielding weeds under him gave way, and he sank into the basin, from which he was drawn out after a good "ducking," by one of those present. The next morning this basin was sounded to the depth of thirty-five feet, and no bottom found, We named this spring "Buchanan's well."
HEINRICH LIENHARD wrote in his diary upon reaching the springs:
"The spring [Donner Spring] was fine one about 4 or 6 feet across, and from 4 to 5 feet deep, the water fresh and good, and entirely free from any saIine or mineral taint. The Kollog [Kellogg] brothers had a fine, large, black hound which they had brought aIong with them to this point, and which probably was extremely thirsty by the time it arrived here; it had jumped into the spring, immersing itself and drinking, but when it came out upon the grass again, it had suddenly fallen down, and shortly afterward it died."
HOWARD STANSBURY, Captain for the Corps of Topographical Engineers in the United States Army was sent to Utah on a scientific expedition to survey the Great Salt Lake and the surrounding area. During this survey in 1849 he travelled around the north end of the lake and west across the Newfoundland Island, past the northern tip of crater island, and on to some springs three miles north of Donner Springs. Thence to Donner Springs where they then began their journey eastward along the Hastings cutoff to Salt Lake City. From Stansbury's An Expedition to the Valley of Great Salt Lake of Utah, pp. 112-114. STANSBURY:
"Friday, November 2, ... Following the western edge of the mud-plain at the foot of the range for three miles, [to Donner Springs] we came to the southern point of the mountain, where there had been an encampment of emigrants, who had taken this route from salt Lake City in 1848. There were here several large springs of excellent water, and the encampment had apparently been quite a large one. The usual destruction of property had taken place. Clothes, books, cases of medicine, wagon wheels, tools, &c., lay strewn about, abandoned by their owners, who had laboriously brought them two thousand miles only to throw them away." Stansbury then mentions Fremont and Hastings and the Donner party.
When finished at the springs, drive back to the gate and gravel road. Turn right for a short distance and turn left on a road heading toward Pilot Peak. Go about 150 feet, park then look to your right and you will see rocks which we believe are some Cherokee graves.
CAPTAIN TAYLOR'S letter: "we traveled day and night till we got through the desert." In the margin, Brown wrote: 'A great many Dead horses, Cattle & dogs which died for want of water. These springs are called Relief Springs." Here three more of the company breathed their last." The deceased were noted by BROWN.
With all the suffering by the emigrants crossing the Great Salt Lake Desert in 1846 to and including 1850, no deaths were recorded from thirst or exhaustion. Deaths did occur however from Cholera. In their book, Cherokee Trail Diaries, Volume I -1849 A New Route to the California Gold Fields, Volume II - 1850 Another New Route to the Calif. Gold Fields, Patricia K. A. Fletcher, Dr. Jack Earl Fletcher and Lee Whitely told about the 1850 Cherokee, Oliver wagon train plagued with cholera. After they had arrived at Donner Springs, John Lowery Brown in a pack party noted the deceased:
JOHN LOWERY BROWN:
"Aug 11 today we lay Bye resting our horses. this morning G.M. Martin was taken very sick. about 12 oclock two men belonging to Capt Olivers train Died within a few minutes of each other and were both buried in one Grave . . . Davis a white man & Henry Street a Seneca."
A letter by a Captain Taylor stated that a C. V. McNair, Gabriel Martin and a black man belonging to Peter May were also attacked by cholera. Martin lived but a short time; the other two recovered.
". . . today about 2 oclock G.M. Martin died. After burying him the Co--removed up on to one of the Kanyons of the mountain about 3 miles distance. Good water & Grass. Camp 83."
His camp was on the east slope of Pilot Peak, west of Donner Spring, near the Utah/Nevada border.
When through turn around, go back to the road then turn right and travel 2.0 miles to a sign on the fence and turn off on the left to read it. The sign tells about Munsee's cabin in the trees to the east. Continue down the road to the fence corner on the left and turn on the road by the fence and drive to a rail post on the side of the cutoff trail. The Plaque reads:
"... we hitched up and drove on three miles farther to a better camping ground where we had good feed and plenty of water."
Edwin M. Primes Aug 22, 1850
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 24
If you look to the north you will see Eugene Munsee's cabin. We have received permission to see the 1880 homestead cabin so drive north through the gate to the cabin. The Utah Crossroads were granted permission to place a protective cover on the cabin in 1990. The day after installation there was a 100 mile an hour wind blew through here from the west, according to the ranch foreman, and removed our first efforts. We came back and secured the covering better than before. The springs are just north of the cabin.
LIENHARD relates in his diary that "On the afternoon of August 21, toward evening, we forsook this camping place, the grass having become scant, and went on 2 miles south, where water equally good, and grass undoubtedly better were to be found, although many others were there." This camping spot is here and the meadows just to the east. The 1880 Munsee homestead is exactly 2 miles south of Donner springs.
When finished at the cabin, drive back through the gate and leave it like you found it. Drive on past the rail post by the trail and continue on until you come to a wash. The banks have been sloped so that vehicles will be able to cross. Keep following the trail until you come to a road coming in from the north. This road follows the trail across a pipeline that carries the water from the Pilot Mountain streams, down across this valley, up over Leppy Pass, then on to the town of Wendover. The Western Pacific Railroad laid a wood stave pipeline around 1900 to furnish good water for their steam locomotives. The water was later provided to the Wendover Air Force Base during the war and is still now being used by the town of Wendover. The original pipeline has been replaced with a steel pipe.
To the west is 10,700-foot Pilot Peak, named by John C. Fremont. Pilot Peak is in Nevada, just west of the Utah-Nevada border. The peak was a landmark to all emigrant parties traveling 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.
Following the trail a short distance further, you will come to a spring and pond on your left. this is Halls Spring which is 2.5 miles from the Munsee cabin area.. The BIDWELL/BARTLESON PARTY IN 1841 stopped at this spring for a rest at noon. The trail you have been driving on from the Munsee Cabin must have been, originally, the Bidwell/Bartleson trail of 1841 and then it was followed by the next wagon train in 1846, the Harlan /Young company. See Edwin Bryant's diary quote at Bidwell Pass.
Drive to the rail post just west of the spring. The plaque reads:
"We started early this morning and passed a number of good springs, took dinner at one of them."
James John, Sept 14, 1841
2000 Utah Crossroads Chapter - OCTA HU - 25
Continue on for 2.0 miles and be very observant because the trail through this area is hard to see. You will come to a metal gate in the fence placed here by the BLM so one can continue on the trail. This fence is the Nevada /Utah State line. Keep following the trail for 1.6 miles. You will cross a couple of small washes and then come to the Wendover/Lucin road. Pull on to the graded road, record your odometer reading and then watch for the trail depressions adjacent to the road cut on the left. When this county road was built someone took care not to destroy the emigrant trail. The road follows alongside the old trail for 1.2 miles until it crosses the trail where there is a white carsonite marker on the right side of the graded road.
Find a place to pull off the road to the right and get back on the emigrant trail. A cedar post in the center of the trail lets you know when you are on the trace. This post was placed here years ago by OCTA member Mary Muller from California. Proceed around the post and then stop opposite the kiosk on your left 0.1 mile. Exit your vehicles and read the panel about Bidwell Pass.
Continue your trek by following the trail . EDWIN BRYANT with their pack party, came upon the trail in this area in 1846. They were ahead of the Harlan Young wagons. He recorded:
"After travelling about ten miles [from Donner Springs] we struck a wagon-trail, which evidently had been made several years. From the indentations of the wheels, where the earth was soft, five or six wagons  had passed here. The appearance of this trail in this desolate region was at first inexplicable; but I soon recollected that some five or six years ago an emigrating expedition to California was fitted out by Colonel Bartlettson, [Bartleson] Mr. J Chiles,[ Joseph Chiles] and others, of Missouri..."
BRYANT then goes on to say that they followed; "...this old trail some two or three miles, we left it [the trail] on the right."
Side berms indicate that this trail was graded since emigrant times. Follow this trail up a zigzag course southwest to the summit of Bidwell Pass [0.9 mile], named in 1990 by the Utah Crossroads Chapter in honor of JOHN BIDWELL who passed this way on 14 September 1841. The OCTA Elko members have placed a rail post on the summit of the pass. The Plaque reads:
"In the evening we left the salt plain, turned our course to the west, crosed the mountain through a gap and could find no water"
James John, Sep. 14, 1841
1998 Trails West Inc. P.O. Box 12045 Reno, NV. HN-1
Drive on over the pass, across a wash 0.1 mile to a graded gravel road. The trail continues on west but has not been graded. Set your odometer and follow the trail west. You will come to some white earth that EDWIN BRYANT talks about in his journal:
"...and crossed some low and totally barren hills, which appear to have been thrown up by the action of volcanic fres at no very remote period of geological history. They are composed of a white, imponderous earth, resembling ashes, intermingled with fragments of scoria, resembling the cinders from an iron-foundry, or a blacksmith's furnace. [As you travel through this area notice the white earth.]"
EDWARD M. KERN, Talbot's topographer with the 1845 Fremont party going to California, recorded seeing the Bidwell-Bartleson wagon tracks on 31 October 1845 and then he continues:
"After crossing this plain [Pilot Creek Valley] we struck another ridge [Toano Range] and camped near its summit at some holes of water [with] Pine timber [and] bunch grass 23 miles. [Clyman coming east on the same trail in 1846 apparently neither saw nor recorded any evidence of the Bidwell-Bartleson party trail.]"
EDWIN BRYANT found and followed the Fremont pack trail to the southwest where he crossed the Toano Range, he says:
"...we entered the range of mountains [Toano Mountains] on the west of it by a narrow gorge, and following its windings, we reached the foot of the steep dividing ridge about six o'clock, p.m. Here we had expected to find water, but the ravine was entirely dry, and the grass bordering it was brown and dead. An elevated butte of red sandstone towered upwards on our right, like the dome of some Cyclopean Cathedral."
We will show you the elevated butte of red sandstone when we return to Wendover. The trail turns west towards Silver Zone Pass. It curves to the right making a U turn then back to cross a small wash then continues west. This trail is difficult to find in the bottom of the valley so look for markers and another wood post plus a place to cross two washes. Travel west on the trail toward Silver Zone Pass until you pass abandoned buildings on the left. Just past these buildings you will cross a gravel county road that goes to the left and south to the I-80 Pilot Peak interchange and right to Montello, Nevada, to the north. There is another marker which reads:
"We traveled over one of the most uninhabitable parts of God's creation, ... but I suppose if it were not for these there would be no pretty places"
John Wood Aug. 10, 1850
1998 Trails West Inc. P.O. Box 12045 Reno, NV. HN-2
Cross this north - south gravel road and travel west on a ranch road with the Hastings Cutoff swale just right of the road. This road continues west and comes back over the trail. After 1.5 miles the county road branches off to the right to a water well. Travel west on the left fork up a slight grade. It was in this area that the Bidwell-Bartleson party camped on the night of 14 Sept. 1841 without water. Ironically, there is now a water well in this area.
Continue west 1.1 miles until the road forks to the left. The trail continues west then drops over the brow of a hill where a carsonite marker has been placed. Take the left hand fork until it comes to a county road. This is the abandoned US 40. Turn right onto the old highway and follow it past a gravel pit on the left that has destroyed the trail. Travel 2.7 miles into the pass under a railroad overpass, then through a rock cut. Look on your left for a rail post marker whose plaque reads:
"We yoked and again proceeded slowly on down through the gorge. ...we actually found near the road a spring hole perhaps 12 feet deep"
Heinrich Lienhard, Aug. 25, 1846
1998 Trails West Inc. P.O. Box 12045 Reno, NV. HN-3
Look into the canyon on your left (south) where you should see willows growing and the remains of an old stone building. This is the area where Heinrich Lienhard describes finding water in a 12-foot deep hole:
"With our breakfast we were soon enough finished, after which we yoked up and again proceeded slowly on down through the gorge [Silver Zone Pass]. We had gone scarcely 100 yards before we actually found near the road a spring hole perhaps 12 feet deep. We stopped, naturally, and equipping myself with a bucket and a small receptacle I forced my way the few steps down to the water. The water was clear, cool, and pleasant to the taste. Of course we quenched our own thirst first and set aside a little to carry along with us, after which our oxen got about 2 gallons to the head. Though insufficient, this was for the animals some slight alleviation. Had hostile Indians come near us last night, they could hardly have found a better place to surprise and massacre us than from behind the various detached rocks around camp; it would not have been difficult for them to have trapped and gathered us up as into a sack."
JOHN WOOD mentions the spring in Silver Zone Pass:
"10th.-This morning we traveled over one of the most uninhabitable parts of God's creation [Pilot Creek Valley east of Silver Zone Pass]; not a thing but the bare earth to be seen, but I suppose if it was not for these there would be no pretty places. We traveled on until 10 o'clock, when we reached some water, nothing but a deep hole dug in the side of the road [Silver Zone Pass]; our cattle must now have grass or they are gone; and here we can find but little, so our stay must be short here, and yet it is eighteen miles further to water and grass, and we must reach there this night, so at 4 o'clock this evening, we started again, across another desert of eighteen miles, and at 10 o'clock at night we found plenty of water and tolerable good grass [Big Springs]. Ogle & Robinson's train also reached the water last night, and we once more camped together. The road since we left the big desert has been pretty good and the weather fair."
After looking into the canyon and contemplating how the emigrants obtained water from the 12 foot deep hole and traveled through the pass, turn around and proceed back to the Pilot Peak Interchange Road [4.8 miles] Turn right (south) and travel 3.9 miles to the Pilot Peak interchange where you will see some historical plaques placed by the Elko OCTA members
OPTIONAL TOUR TO BRYANTS RED BUTTE. This tour is for high clearance vehicles. While at the Pilot Peak interchange, drive west 2.8 miles across the railroad on the main road to a lime plant, then to a little used road that goes south. Take this road south (left) for 4.1 miles to a crossroad, then turn right and proceed up this wide canyon that has a deep wash on the left side of the road for 0.8 miles. Stop and observe the high reddish brown butte in front of you. This is the butte that Bryant called a "Cyclopean Cathedral." The canyon that Edwin Bryant traveled up is on the south side of the butte. Return to the Pilot Peak interchange.
lf you wish to see the red sandstone butte from I-80, as Edwin Bryant called it when crossing the Toano Range, then drive to I-80 mileposts 401 to 403 and look westward in the Toano Range where you can see the high red butte. DO NOT STOP ON I-80.