Great Salt Lake City, July 8, 1848.
President Smith and the Council:
The undersigned being appointed by your honorable body as a committee to explore a new road from this place towards Ft. Bridger beg leave to submit the following report.
We left the city on the morning of the third inst., proceeded up Canyon creek to the junctions of its two principal forks at the eastern foot of the first mountain. Found the Canyon extremely rugged, narrow and brushy and … about 4 or 5 miles through it.
We are of the opinion that a good wagon road can be made through it at a cost of about 800 dollars and thus dispense with the mountain over which the road now runs.
Passing up a fine table land or inclined plain for about two miles, on the south side of the south fork of Canyon creek, we crossed it and took up a small branch eastward, two or three miles more, to the summit of a Divide between east and west Canyon creek, the one putting into the Weber river and the other into this valley.
This is an easy pass, scarcely worthy to be called a hill and is about 15 miles from town or answering to the second mountain on the road.
Thence two miles down a forest and meadow or inclined plain, interspersed with pine, fir, aspen, and open ground, we came to East Canyon creek. Thence up that creek three miles south east to Parley’s park. Thence eastward three miles over meadow and sage plains to a small stream which we named Silver creek. Thence the new road will pass down said creek, 5 miles through a Canyon of willows and hills down two miles more through an open valley, to the Weber river. Thence down the open valley of that river 10 miles to the junction of the Old road.
This road is thirty miles from our city to the Weber and forty miles to the junction of the old road where it leaves Cane canyon and comes to the Weber. The whole forty miles is out through a mountain or a hill that is unworthy the mention in so rough a country. It is a direct course, or nearly so, and winds its way through three principal ranges of mountains, over which the old road runs. And we know it to be the only practical pass to be found for a good road from our city to the Weber river.
It passes through some of the finest country in the world, and abounds in fine streams, beautiful grassy meadows and a full supply of timber, to accommodate emigration or settlement.
Before finding this pass, we were driven south and east about 30 miles by a range of mountains before we could reach the Weber. We were on the great stream which puts into the Utah Lake. Passed up its valley eastward for many miles. It is well wooded and as large as the Weber.
The valley of this river, and that of the Weber connect in a singular manner, forming an easy pass from the Weber to the Utah Lake.
At the junction of these two streams or rather the junction of the valleys through which they ran, we found a beautiful park 10 miles long and 3 broad. Embracing some thousands of acres of land well watered and well supplied with timber, grass and free stone.
The Weber issues from a high range of mountains eastward of this park, and sweeps through it in a south westerly direction, lined with a majestic forest of cottonwoods.
We camped on its banks after being drenched with the rain on Tuesday the 4th of July.
Wednesday the 5th. Passed up its Canyon eastward for two or three miles between rugged mountains, and then abandoned any further progress because of the thickets of willows and the steep hill sides, and returned down the Weber.
It is about thirty miles down the stream to the old road from where it breaks from the mountains. And the whole distance is bounded on the east by a lofty range of mountains which separate the Weber from Bear river.
If there is a pass to be found south of Cave Canyon, it is the pass where the Weber breaks from this range of mountains, for there is no other. We think that a pass may be found in that direction at some future day.
We passed down the open valley of the Weber nearly 30 miles and returning at the same some ten miles. Encamped for the night near the mouth of Silver creek where here enters the Weber. We had seen its head branches before.
Thursday the 6th, passed up the Canyon of Silver creek and home where we arrived at sundown weary and worn, and some of us without shoes, and nearly without pantaloons. The Canyon having robbed us of these in a great measure, and of much of our flesh and skin, the first morning of our ride.
We would suggest to the Council that as many hands as possible be raised forth with axes, shovels, spades, etc., and that the road be diverted from the other side of the first canyon or mountain to the Weber which will not cost more than $500 and that the big canyon be put off till after harvest.
Should companies arrive they can then repose a day or two in the parks within 15 or 20 miles of us, or they can come within ten miles. We can then join with them and open the canyon, or pass them over the mountain, as is thought best.
A messenger should also be sent to Bridger, to meet any camp this side of Bridger with instructions to the first companies to leave the old road as soon as they reach the Weber, and take up that stream ten miles; in the meantime sending into town for a pilot.
We have the honor to subscribe ourselves your obedient servants and brethren,
Parley P. Pratt,
John Van Cott,
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, July 8, 1848, 2-4]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, July 2006]