History of the Mormon Trail

From the Missouri west, despite the assertion of many journals and many histories that the Mormons were breaking a new road, the trail was known and traveled before they came. Both sides of the Platte valley, that almost inescapable level highway into the West, had been an Indian travel route for generations. Traders between Fort Laramie and the Missouri River posts had sometimes traveled the north bank. The missionaries who in 1844 built a mission to the Pawnee on Loup Fork had used it. The Stevens Party of 1844 had gone that way. According to George R. Stewart, there had been wagons up the north bank as early as 1835.