West to Zion

The Mormon migration from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, in the mid 1840s, was a movement of an entire people, an entire religion, and an entire culture driven by religious fervor and determination. More orderly and efficient than many emigrants traveling to Oregon and California, they traveled in semi-military fashion, grouped into companies of 100s, 50s, and 10s. Discipline, hard work, mutual assistance, and devotional practices were part of their daily routine on the trail.

Knowing that others would follow, they improved the trail and built support facilities. Businesses, such as ferries, were established to help finance the movement. The story of the Mormon Pioneer Trail is the story of the best organized mass migration in American history.

This historic marker is located at Henefer Pioneer Trails Park in Henefer, Utah and is part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.

Pratt’s Pass Camp

Here, at the mouth of Main Canyon, on Thursday, July 15, 1847, Orson Pratt found what he was seeking. “Mr. Reid’s route,” as he called it, was visible only as faint traces left by the wagons of the Donner-Reed party, who had pioneered this route on their way to California in August of 1846. Pratt’s advance party of Mormon Pioneers became the first of thousands of travelers to use this campsite on their way to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Thereafter, Mormons referred to this portion of the trail, from present-day Henefer to the mouth of Emigration Canyon, as “Pratt’s Pass.”

“We soon struck the trail, although so dimly seen that it only now and then could be discerned; only a few wagons having passed here one year ago, and the grass having grown up, leaving scarcely a trace.” – Orson Pratt