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A highway historic marker in Central Valley.

The Old Spanish Trail supposedly the “largest, crookedest, most arduous pack mule route in the history of America,” passed through this valley. Launched in the late 18th century, the trail was used by caravans from New Mexico, carrying blankets to trade for horses and mules in California.

In 1826 the famous fur trader and explorer, Jedediah Smith, led a band of trappers through this region. Seeing good beaver hunting grounds and attempting to learn more about the geography of the area, the party continued west to California and made the first overland crossing of the continent from the American frontier.

This valley and much of southern Utah were explored for settlement in 1849 by a company of 50 men led by the Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt. The party made systematic observations of land, mineral and water resources. Following their recommendations, Mormon colonies were established in Juab, Pahvant, Utah. Sanpete and Little Salt Lake Valleys (sic).

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