The Trek


South Pass (and Pacific Springs)

Distance: 1,065 miles from Nauvoo

South Pass, often referred to as the Cumberland Gap of the West, is the threshold of the Continental Divide. Pacific Springs, just beyond South Pass, bears its name because of the westward flow of the water toward the Pacific Ocean.

Journal Entries

Nelson W. Whipple
August 1850

“After we past the South Pass as it is cald the captin told his Company that if they felt like dancing to dance and injoy them Selves as he felt as though we was deliverd from under the hands of our [enemies] who would not have the power to abuse us as they had before done.”

Nelson W. Whipple autobiography and journal, Aug. 1850, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

John Chislett
October 1856

“Near South Pass we found more brethren from the Valley, with several quarters of good fat beef hanging frozen on the limbs of the trees where they were encamped. These quarters of beef were to us the handsomest pictures we ever saw. The statues of Michael Angelo, or the paintings of the ancient masters, would have been to us nothing in comparison to these life-giving pictures.”

John Chislett, as quoted in LeRoy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen, Handcarts to Zion: The Story of a Unique Western Migration, 1856–1860 (1960), 130.

Locations along the Trail