Fort Kearny, South Pass and Honey Lake Route, Lander Road, Lander's Road, Lander's Cut-off; Lander Trail
Origin Of Name:
"This is an old Indian trail used by the Indians and the trappers of the fur period. A short-cut to the Snake River country, it was proposed as an emigrant road by the Mountain Man John Hockaday in 1854. No emigrant trails crossed the mountains north of here. It was improved as a wagon road for the Government by F.W. Lander in 1859 to avoid dry wastes of the road to the south and provide more water, wood and forage. Here it commenced, the crossing of the south end of the Wind River Mountains and the Continental Divide and on to the Pacific northwest. Thirteen thousand people and thousands of domestic animals passed this way in 1859 and thirty years thereafter was used as heavily, setting the destiny of an empire." (Historical Marker, South Pass) This road was a direct cutoff from the primary Oregon Trail leading northwest from Burnt Ranch. The exit point is still visible. It was the only road deliberately built for use of emigrants and led to Fort Hall, Idaho. It was 100 miles shorter than the old route. Built at a cost of $70,000.00, it was begun in 1857 and completed in 1859. The first year over 9,000 people used it but emigration was tapering off by that time and it never developed the traffic to justify its construction. The road was named for Frederick W. Lander, engineer for the Department of Interior who surveyed and supervised the construction. According to Henderson, Lander set a zero stone from the corner of the station building and began his surveys from this point. (Wyoming Recreation Commission, 1984)
Lander Cut-off of the Oregon Trail thru Star Valley, Wyoming by Jermy Wight, 1999.