▪ Discover a hike (or drive) through time

EXPERIENCE PIONEER HISTORY on an adventurous hike along the Mormon Trail, which winds through the Wasatch Mountains in northern Utah.

Vista from the crest of Big Mountain, on the Mormon Trail, looking toward the Salt Lake Valley

From Salt Lake City, follow Interstate 80 to the turnoff onto Highway 65. This small highway will take you to the crest of Big Mountain, where the handcart pioneers caught their first glimpse of the Salt Lake Valley. From there, you can hike in either direction, enjoying as much of the trek as you like.

View from Big Mountain, on the Mormon Trail

Travelers can also drive the Mormon Trail. From Big Mountain, follow scenic Highway 65 over Hogsback Summit to the little town of Henefer. Take Interstate 84 to Echo. From there, Highway 80 will take you through the once-treacherous Echo Canyon to the Wyoming border. Along the way, you’ll find historical markers that will take you back in time.

Ruts on the Mormon Trail, heading over Hogsback Summit

Be sure to stop at the sign for Hogsback Summit, often called Heartbreak Ridge. One of the most poignant moments in my book research was visiting this site. The handcart pioneers, having pushed their carts 1,200 miles over the plains, the Rocky Mountains and a barren desert, were joyous that they had almost reached the Salt Lake Valley. When they came over the crest of Heartbreak Ridge and saw the formidable Wasatch Mountains ahead, many broke down and wept.

Hogsback Summit, often called Heartbreak Ridge

On your return to Salt Lake City, don’t forget to stop by This is the Place Heritage Village to check out the reconstructed pioneer village from the mid-19th century. This is the spot where Mormon pioneers first entered the valley.

Enjoy your travels in the beautiful mountains of northern Utah!

Hike the Mormon Trail on Big Mountain in Emigration Canyon, Utah