Native Americans traveled and camped in the Soda Springs area for centuries before emigrants traveled the Oregon Trail.
Sheep Rock (Soda Point) marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and the Hudspeth Cutoff and was often mentioned in emigrant diaries. The Hudspeth Cutoff diverged 3/4 mile west of here, striking west across the lava-covered valley. Its route passed over Fish Creek divide and the Portneuf Range south of Lava Hot Springs. Its western terminus was the City of Rocks, where it rejoined the California Trail. From Sheep Rock, the main branch of the Oregon-California Trail headed northwest toward Fort Hall.
On July 19, 1849, Benoni Morgan Hudspeth, captain of a wagon train with 70 wagons and 250 people, led his group west along what was to become the Hudspeth Cutoff. With John Meyers as guide, they opened a new wagon route to California shortening the northern and more established route north to Fort Hall. Hudspeth and Meyers has scouted the area prior to crossing. Hudspeth was familiar with the area since he had been with John C. Fremont on his 1843 expedition to the Great Salt Lake area.
Departing from the established road, they proceeded due west over the mountains rather than around them. This new 132-mile route jointed the California Train to the west of the Raft River. Spurred
by the Gold Rush of 1849, afterward most California-bound traffic went over the cutoff due to abundance of forage for their animals.
"Four miles from Steamboat Springs we came to old crater Alexander Crater and the junction of the Fort Hall road and Hudspethw's Cutoff. At this point, Bear River which has run nearly north for 150 miles or more bends, short around the mountain and runs back nearly parallel with its former course. The Fort Hall road runs to the right and runs along under the bluff, and Hudspeth's Cutoff continues nearly straight ahead towards the opposite mountains." — Lorenzo Sawyer, 1849