Many travelers along the Oregon, California, and Mormon Pioneer trails relied on maps and reports made by explorers or guides who knew the way. William Clayton provided early emigrants with a detailed written record of his travels. As a member of Brigham Young's Mormon Pioneer Company in 1847, Clayton measured the party's daily travel to the nearest quarter-mile, recording features of the terrain, between Winter Quarters, Nebraska and the Great Salt Lake. His "Latter-Day Saints' Emigrants' Guide," first published in 1848, is available today as a popular historical record.
Having journeyed from various departure points on the wooded banks of the Missouri River, emigrants now measured their progress, Mormon Pioneers were almost three-fourths of the way along to the Great Salt Lake Valley. The adventures bound for California had covered a third of the distance to their goal, while some families enroute to Oregon had farther yet to travel than the gold seekers. All had made the commitment of their lives, to start anew and affirmed the freedoms of their young nation.
William Clayton identified "Prospect Hill" as offering a:
"Pleasant view of the surrounding country, to the Sweet Water mountains."
Westward from here, emigrants would never again be out of view of mountains - landscapes both inspiring and forbidding, higher in elevation than any they had known east of the Mississippi River.