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Photographed 4 September 2018.
Lander Cut-Off on the Oregon Trail
In 1858, this ancient path, which had been used by Indians,
explorers and mountain men as a shortcut to the Snake River
country was developed by Frederick Lander into an alternate
route on the Oregon Trail.
What is commonly called the Lander Trail or Lander Cut-off
starts 9 miles to the southeast at Burnt Ranch (directly
behind this sign), crosses the Sweetwater River 6 miles to
the northwest, and continues along Lander Creek for 13 miles
to the Continental Divide at Little Sandy Creek, the
headwaters of the Pacific Ocean. From there it travels west
across the Green River Valley, the Wyoming Range, and the
Salt River Range before entering present-day Idaho.
The Cut-Off rejoins the original Oregon Trail near Fort Hall.
This wagon road was favored by travelers for many reasons.
The cut-off saved as much as 7 days travel compared to the
old route through Fort Bridger, avoided the expensive
ferries across the Green River to the south, and bypassed
the 50-mile waterless desert of the Sublette Cut-Off.
Its longest waterless section was only 10 miles, and it had
access to abundant grass and firewood. The Lander Cut-Off
was used by an estimated 13,000 emigrants its first year,
with 9,000 of them signing a statement of support for the
road at Fort Hall. While use dwindled after the completion
of the trans-continental railroad in 1869, the trail was
still used by emigrants into the 20th century and played a
role in the settlement of the Upper Green River Valley.
Sublete County Museum Board
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Date and time this page was prepared:
8/16/2019 12:51:58 PM