History of Grand County, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
The first white men to enter the present area of Grand County were Spanish explorers who discovered a crossing of the Colorado River at the site of the present highway bridge at Moab. Later Spanish traders and American fur trappers developed the route known as the Spanish Trail, of which that crossing and another ford across the Green River above the site of the present Emery County town of that name were a part.

The first attempt by Mormon colonists to settle the Moab area was a failure. The Elk Mountain Mission reached Moab Valley in 1855 and established a small community, but the Indians who were already farming the fertile Colorado River bottoms regarded them as competition and drove them out after they had been there only a few weeks. Not until the late 1870s and the 1880s did a few Mormon families find it possible to build permanent homes in the area.

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