History of Summit County, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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In 1846 Lansford W. Hastings, a California promoter, announced a new cutoff on the California Trail that would eliminate several hundred miles and many days of travel. The cutoff turned southwest from Fort Bridger, Wyoming, and entered Utah and the northeastern corner of Summit County through Echo Canyon. It followed the Weber River to Salt Lake Valley, went around the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, and then west into Nevada. The first group to take this new cutoff was the Donner-Reed party in 1846. Blazing a road through the Wasatch Mountains cost them many days, and when they reached the Sierra they ran into early snow, with well-known tragic results. Many lost their lives. A year later, the pioneering Mormons adopted part of the Hastings Cutoff, but when they reached the Weber River they turned southwest to Emigration Canyon. This became the main trail for the immigration of the Mormons to Utah. In 1869 the Union Pacific Railroad, builder of the eastern portion of the transcontinental railroad, followed the Hastings Cutoff, and today part of Interstate 80 follows the Hastings and Mormon trails and the Union Pacific route through northern Summit County.

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