Central Overland Trail (Salt Lake to Ruby Valley)

The Central Overland Trail is described in a Trails West guidebook which may be available for purchase in the CTIC gift shop or you can purchase it directly from Trails West on their website.

Marker COTU-1


"The city presents a handsome appearance. About 3 o'clock the whole train arrived an dis camped in Emigration Square in a dusty place, full of horses and wagons from the states. A large number of old acquaintances came to congratulate us on our safe arrival." - The Reverend John G. Fackler, July 28, 1864

On the back of the marker is another plate.

"This city block is now known as Washington Square, but during the 1850s and 60s it was known as Emigrant Square. All covered-wagon emigrants who planned to spend any time in Salt Lake City were required to set up camp within this block. While camping here they were able to rest their livestock and replenish their supplies.

In 1859 Captain James H. Simpson led an expedition that opened a new route between Salt Lake City and California which became known as the Central Overland Trail. Emigrant Square was the beginning point of that route. During its short history this route was used by the Pony Express, the Overland Stage, and significant numbers of California-bound emigrants."

Marker COTU-2


"About one mile west of the City is the river Jordan. This is a deep and sluggish stream which is bridged here so we passed 'over Jordan.' For some days after we were at times singing 'Over Jordan into Glory We'll go on, We'll go on'" - George Harter, August 1864

George's narrative can be downloaded and viewed at the Sutter County Museum.

Marker COTU-3


"We camp near Black Rock on the bank of Salt Lake which looks beautiful from here and there are two or three large rocky mounds of islands just in sight." - Delia Thompson Brown, July 21, 1860

Marker COTU-4


"Traveled along the shore of the lake four miles than by the mountains and through a Valley. In the afternoon drove to Tooele City then half a mile beyond and camped. Good water, grass and wood." - Albert Jefferson Young, August 7, 1862

Marker COTU-5 / SL SCR UT-1


"Took leave of my wife and Br. Brown drove ahead and found a very hard hill to ascend which is a divide between Utah and Salt Lake Valleys. ... Proceeding down the divide we came in sight of Utah Lake. This is a beautiful sheet of water some forty miles long and lies in a sort of triangle. It is surrounded by a large valley covered with a heavy growth of grass." - Addison Pratt, October 5, 1849

This post is also the marker for the Utah Central Overland Trail #5 (COTU-5).

Marker COTU-6


"Left camp at half past 6, had very good roads most of the way, crossed Jordon river at noon in a ferry toll $1.50 we got over among the first teems but on account of its taking so long to get them all over the ferry we only drove five miles and stopped for night near Jordan bay." - Mary Karchner, July 14, 1862

Marker COTU-7


"Crossed Jourdan [River] and passed Utah Lake where the road turns to the right and leaves the Great Salt Lake Valley. Reached Camp Floyd about four o'clock. This is an ill looking place but there appears to be considerable business going on. It is garrisoned with about twenty-five hundred soldiers." - Lumin A. Scott, August 6, 1859

Marker COTNU-2


"The topographical party under my command left the post to explore the country intervening this locality and Carson River. Our course lay slightly south of west, up a scarcely perceptible ascent, out from Cedar Valley to Camp Floyd Pass, 3 miles distant from Camp Floyd." - Capt. James H. Simpson, May 2, 1859

While it does not have Simpson's diary included, you can download and read Jesse G. Petersen's book A Route for the Overland Stage published by the Utah State University Press.

Marker COTNU-3


"Left Camp Floyd at eight a.m. for California. Marched 18 1/2 miles and camped on Meadow Creek [Faust Creek] in Rush Valley. We are all mounted on mules, have seventeen wagons and an escort of twenty men; Dragoons and Infantry. A Mormon guide and two Indians accompany us." - William Lee (member of the Simpson Expedition). May 2, 1859

Marker COTNU-3A


"We struck the stage road in 5 miles. Good water here. Drove on to the summit of Point Lookout. Here we nooned and drive 1 miles farther to water and camped." - Albert Jefferson Young, August 9, 1862

Marker COTNU-4


"From Point Lookout we drove six miles and left the Telegraph Road. Took the left hand fork and drove to Government Springs for dinner, concluded to camp here. Good grass and water. Fifteen miles today." - James McNabb Colwell, August 30, 1865

Marker COTNU-5


"This is Government Springs and is several miles off the main road, but we were obliged to come here for water, and it is a fine place to lay over to recruit before starting across the desert." - George Harter, August 1864

George's narrative can be downloaded and viewed at the Sutter County Museum.

Marker COTNU-6


"Camped at Indian Springs at 3 oclock, all the animals very much fatigued and worn out. Plenty of water, wood, and grass. This camp is off from the main road and is resorted to by migrants who desire to rest their cattle previous to crossing the desert." - Private Charles Scott, October 1, 1860

Marker COTNU-7


"We were off at seven A.M. and marching 16 1/2 miles camped at Pleasant (or Simpson's) Spring, where there is a mail station, getting into camp about one o'clock. We are now on the eastern rim of the Great American Desert." - William Lee (member of the Simpson Expedition), May 4, 1859

Marker COTNU-8


"Course nearly southwest across desert to 'Chort Cut Pass'. Through this pass Chorpenning & Company, the mail contractors, have made a road, but it is so crooked and steep as to scarcely permit our wagons to get up it." - Capt. James H. Simpson, May 5, 1859

While it does not have Simpson's diary included, you can download and read Jesse G. Petersen's book A Route for the Overland Stage published by the Utah State University Press.

Marker COTNU-9


"Just before reaching Fish Springs station we passed one of the salt wells which are characteristic of this country. This one is six to eight feet in diam- and perhaps an equal distance from the surface to the water which has a whitish green aspect, is intensely salt, and said to be unfathomable." - Horace Greeley, July 22, 1859

Horace Greeley's account of An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859 can be viewed online.

Marker COTNU-10


"A rude stage station was established at Fish Springs, and the lonesome keeper greeted us warmly. The spring was a large pool of water lying at the base of a low mountain. For three or four miles it sent out a large and copious stream, but the thirsty sands soon absorbed it. The water, while brackish, was said to abound in fish." - Lavinia Porter, 1859

Marker CON-1


"We came ... to eight mile station and stopped. It snowed nearly all day, very disagreeable." - James Colwell, September 8, 1865

"Today it snowed very hard. Am barefooted, common shoes ... are too much for me." - Dennis Colwell, September 8, 1865

Marker CON-2


"Our road today has been partly across a valley, and partly over hills - all barren and sagebrushy. As I was playing with my little brother, George, ... we accidentally struck a [shot] gun, causing it to go off." - Ada Millington, August 2, 1862

Marker CON-3


"Started at 10 oclock Traveled 25 miles and came to Antelope Springs Hot weather Road Dusty No grass except what we brought along The previous night was so cold that ice was formed over 1/4 inch thick" - H. D. Barton, August 2, 1865

Marker CON-4


"Sixteen miles to grass and water. Leaving Antelope Springs at sunrise, 10 a.m. finds us camped at Spring Valley Station, to the left of the road. Plenty of water but miserable grass." - Flora Isabelle Bender, July 14, 1863

Flora's journal was published in the Summer, 1958 edition of the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.

Marker CON-5


"Passed Antelope to Rock Springs, where coming out of a rock is a stream of the coldest, purest water. Some one has driven a ... spigot into the crevice, making a spout ... the most desirable camp of the journey." - William Carter Moss, August 2, 1861

Marker CON-6


"Traveled down the mountain to Spring Valley then up through the mountains then down again and stoped for the night on Shell Creek a beautiful stream of water" - Mary Hall Jatta, August 10, 1868

Marker CON-7


"Started across a level plain sixteen miles ... when we had passed over this we entered Egan canon ... at the head of the canon there has been a city laid out called Tiptoe. The people ... invited our train to come to ... a dance." - Phebe Abbott Carleton, July 6, 1864

Marker CON-8


"Drove out early. Crossed a very sandy, dusty valley, ... then crossed another 10 mile valley and drove up on the side of the mountain and came to [Pony] Springs, which was good water and then camped with several trains." - Abbey E. Fulkerth, July 2, 1863

Marker CON-9


"We leave Egan for a 20 mile drive to the next station on account of there being no watter nearer. ... we made to Bute Station about sun set. We found bad camping, bad grass, and watter very scarce." - Philander Powell, September 7, 1860

Marker CON-10


"Left camp, and Butte Station, 12 miles to Mountain Springs. Grass and water plenty." - Albert Jefferson Young, August 21, 1862

"Have a very tiresome drive ... we do not get into camp till almost midnight. I am very tired." - Mary Ringo, September 29, 1864

Mary Ringo's published diary is held in the collection of the Library of Congress and can be viewed here.