The following spring of 1826, Smith was sent ahead of the westbound pack train to arrange for the rendezvous, held that year in Cache Valley. During the rendezvous, Ashley arranged to sell his share of the company to Smith, David Jackson, and William Sublette.
In August, the three partners split up for the fall hunt. Smith, with seventeen men, pushed south to appraise the trapping potential of the region south and west of the Great Salt Lake. This trek took Smith the entire length of Utah, along the route of present Interstate 15 with a side venture via Spanish Fork Canyon to Sanpete Valley to trade with the Ute Indians.
Smith proceeded along the Virgin River to its confluence with the Colorado River, and then continued south to the Mojave villages. The company then pushed west to the San Gabriel Mission and in so doing effectively completed the desired but unfinished route of the 1776 Dominguez-Escalante expedition.