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The Mormon Trail

Map of the Mormon Trail

©1995 by Beverly Whitaker, Genealogy Tutor

Route of the Mormon Trail


From Nauvoo, Illinois, the Saints crossed Iowa. Near Sewal, Iowa, they crossed Locust Creek. Their first real way station was at Garden Grove, where 170 men cleared 715 acres in three weeks, for the purpose of providing shelter for those coming behind. They did this all along the Trail. Beyond Garden Grove lies Mount Pisgah. Here, between 1846 and 1852, as many as 800 died. They crossed the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, setting up a new camp on Indian lands, at what is now the Omaha suburb of Florence, Nebraska. It became known as Winter Quarters.

When the Mormons reached Fort Kearny, they remained on the north bank of the Platte River. This is what distinguishes the Mormon Trail from the Oregon Trail in this portion. The latter ran along the south bank. The Mormons chose the north side partly to isolate themselves but more to avoid competing for grazing and campsites.

At Fort Bridger, the Mormon Trail diverged from the Oregon and California Trail. The Mormons turned south and west toward the Wasatch Mountain Range. A work party was sent ahead to build a road through the mountains.

The first group of Mormons passed through Echo Canyon, over Big Mountain and Little Mountain and down Emigration Canyon, coming into full view of the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.


Downoad a 2-page Fact Sheet (free) about this trail in PDF format.

The Mormon Trail

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