Utah’s central location in the western United States has always meant a steady flow of traffic across its expanse, and has earned the state nickname “The Crossroads of the West.” As early as the 18th century Spaniards and New Mexicans began exploring Utah in search of “short-cut” routes to the western coast. Their efforts resulted in a popular trade route known as “the Old Spanish Trail.” In the first half of the 19th century trappers and mountain men further explored the state, plotting and mapping routes as they went. Their trails were later used by thousands of pioneers and adventurers heading to California and Oregon. U.S. government explorers began crossing Utah in the 1840s; one of the most notable of these was John C. Fremont, who mapped trails and wrote detailed reports of the plant and animal life in the area.
Information courtesy of the Governor’s Office.
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