The written history of the Intermountain Region begins in 1776 with the remarkably accurate diary of Father Escalante, a Spanish Franciscan priest. He and Father Dominguez, together with eight companions, were the first white men known to have been here.
On a futile journey, trying to locate a direct route between Santa Fe, New Mexico, center of Catholic Missionary activities, and Monterey, California, recently reestablished Port of Entry for goods from Spain and southern Mexico, they traversed most of Utah, east and south of the Salt Lake Valley. On the return trip to Santa Fe, they crossed this divide in October, 1776.
The history of their wanderings over strange trails, and their missionary work among Indian tribes, furnishes one of the most impressive accounts of exploration and heroism in the history of the West. Their travels extended more than 600 miles over mountains and deserts, without competent guides or a knowledge of the country before them, and depending only upon information and assistance from the Indians, they endured untold hardship and privation, finally reaching Santa Fe on January 2, 1777.
Dominguez Escalante Trail 1776 - 1777