History of Hastings Cutoff, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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A short-lived shortcut through Utah on the long California Trail, this was an apparently good idea which didn't work out.

Lansford Warren Hastings (ca.1818-1868) helped pioneer the Oregon Trail in 1842. He gravitated to California the next year and, along with John Sutter, saw opportunity in promoting settlement there.

No wagons had reached California, but all agreed that the way was passable if they could cross the Sierra Nevada before winter. Encouraged, Hastings published a book, The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California, advocating American colonization. It suggested a shorter route south of the Great Salt Lake, but gave no specifics beyond the sentence: "The most direct route, for the California emigrants, would be to leave the Oregon route, about two hundred miles east from Fort Hall; thence bearing west southwest, to the Salt lake; and thence continuing down to the bay of San Francisco."

In 1845 wagons went through, but followed a northern course to avoid the mountains and desert. Meanwhile, Captain John C. Frémont's 1845 expedition had actually used the hypothetical route from the Salt Lake Valley across the desert to Pilot Springs (north of Wendover), and on to the Humboldt River.


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