Tucked away in the mountains of northeastern Utah, East Canyon Reservoir is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and camping, but also holds a bit of history. Explore the nearby Mormon Pioneer Trail, the route taken by Mormons traveling more than 1,300 miles from Illinois to Utah.
East Canyon and the surrounding area are rich in pioneer history. The Donner Party, also called the Donner-Reed group, was a group of farmers from Iowa and Illinois going west to find fertile land for their crops. On their way to California, they passed through East Canyon in 1846, the first wagon train to pass through this way. Many obstacles, including high brush and rocky obstacles, slowed them down a great deal. Not realizing the harsh conditions they would encounter while on their trek, only 47 of the original 87 reached their destination.
One year after the Donner Party passed through East Canyon, Mormon pioneers followed that same trail, however, this time was much easier due to the trail work the Donner party had accomplished. Four days later, Brigham Young and his group of pioneers used this trail to get to the Salt Lake valley.
Many people used the Donner-Mormon route over the years, including the Overland Stage and the Pony Express.
Opened to the public as a state park in 1962.
Park Elevation: 5,700 feet
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