The general route is from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah. This 1,300 mile long trail passes through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah.
From 1846-1869, about 70,0000 Mormons traveled along an integral part of the road west, the Mormon Pioneer Trail. It was established November 10, 1978. It started in Nauvoo, Illinois, traveled across Iowa, connected with the Great Platte River Road at the Missouri River, and ended near the Great Salt Lake.
In order to maintain their religious and cultural identity, it was necessary for the Mormons to find an isolated place where they could permanently settle and practice their religion in peace. Departing from Nauvoo, Illinois, in February 1846, thousands of Mormons crossed into Iowa seeking refuge from religious persecution. They spent the next winter in the Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska area. Early in 1847, Brigham Young led an advanced party west, generally paralleling the Oregon Trail, to Fort Bridger, Wyoming, where they turned southwest and eventually came to the Great Salt Lake.
The National Park Service Comprehensive Management and Use Plan describes the official route, lists 83 historic sites and six protected segments and makes recommendations for resource protection, trail management and marking. Many of the sites and segments are on public land, and are open to visitors. Others are located on private lands-please obtain the landowners permission before entry. The 1,624 mile auto tour route is generally marked with the trail logo, and closely follows the trail's historic route. Information on trail routes and history is available from the National Park Service Long Distance Trails Office. Information on accessibility and travel conditions along the cross-country segments is best obtained from local offices of the Bureau of Land Management or the National Forest Service. Agency addresses are listed below.
The National Park Service administers the California, Pony Express and Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trails. Extensive information on trail routes and history is available from this office. Information on accessibility of specific trail segments is best obtained locally. Write National Park Service, Long Distance Trails Office, 324 South State Street, Suite 250, P.O. Box 45155, Salt Lake City, UT 84145-0155, or call (801) 539- 4093.
Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) primary information office for the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express National Historic Trails is the Historic Trails Office. It can provide a wealth of information on rail routes, historic sites, accessibility and trail conditions. Write Bureau of Land Management, Historic Trails Office, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, WY 82601, or call (307) 261-7600.
State Historic Sites and Organizations: Fort Bridger State Historic Site offers a restored military and fur trade post, museum and outdoor exhibits. It can also provide information on Oregon, California, Pony Express and Mormon Trails in southwest Wyoming. Write Fort Bridger State Historic Site, Box 35, Fort Bridger, WY 82933, or call (307) 782-3842.
The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation provides information on the Mormon Trail in Utah, especially the hiking segment between Mormon Flat and Big Mountain. Write Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, 1636 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, or call (801) 538-7344.
Private museums and cooperative organizations: The Iowa Mormon Trails Association is a cooperating association which promotes and develops the Mormon Trail corridor across Iowa. Write Iowa Mormon Trails Association, 100 E. Railroad, P.O. Box 283, Afton, IA, 50830-0283, or call (515) 347-8443.
The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers offers a museum and archives containing many artifacts and documents related to early Utah settlement and the Mormon Trail. Write the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 300 North Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84103-1699, or call (801) 538-1050.
Sites affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: The Historic Nauvoo Visitors Center was the start of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. It can provide information on historic sites in Nauvoo. Write Main and Young Streets, P.O. Box 215, Nauvoo, IL 62354, or call (217) 453- 2237.
The Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters has several landmarks and monuments, including the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery, Winter Quarters Monument, Mormon Mill and a visitor center which tells the history of the Mormon Pioneers. Write Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, 3215 State Street, Omaha, NE 68112, or call (402) 453-9372.
The Historical Department Library has an outstanding archives and library of LDS Church and Mormon Trail related documents. Write Historical Department Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 50 E. North Temple Street, East Wing, Salt Lake City, UT 84150, or call (801) 240-2745.
The Museum of Church History and Art has a museum which contains many original works of art and artifacts related to the Mormon Trail and early Utah settlement. Write Museum of Church History and Art, 45 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150, or call (801) 240-4615.
For Additional Information Contact:
National Historic Trail
For more information visit the National Park Service website