Rocky Ridge

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Rocky Ridge is a portion of the Mormon Trail (and the Oregon/California Trail) that climbs 600 feet over about 3 miles of a steep, stony slope to a high plateau approximately 40 miles east of South Pass in Wyoming. All emigrants along the trail, including the Mormon Pioneers, found the climb challenging—it was one of the most difficult stretches of the emigrants’ entire journey. Members of the Willie and Martin companies and the Hodgetts and Hunt wagon companies found it deadly when they climbed during the harsh winter of 1856.

One writer said the rocks on the trail “lay in rows and lapping one upon another like shingles on the roof of a house.”[1]

Advance members of a relief party from the Salt Lake Valley reached the Willie Company, entirely out of food, camped on the east side of Rocky Ridge. Many handcarters had already died. The rescuers provided some food, and wagons for many of the children to ride in.
“We buried our dead, got up our teams and about nine o’clock a.m. commenced ascending Rocky Ridge,” diarist Levi Savage wrote. “This was a severe day. The wind blew hard and cold. The ascent was some five miles long and some places steep and covered with deep snow. We became weary, set down to rest, and some became chilled and commenced to freeze.”[2]

Today, the trail known as Rocky Ridge runs about 12 miles and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has erected monuments at both the lower and upper ends of the trail. Youth treks re-enact the trek every summer.

See also Martin's Cove: Mormon Trail Site and Interactive Map.