It took up to three months for letters and news from the East Coast to reach the West Coast back in 1860. However, William Russell, Alexander Majors and William Waddell, told the U.S. Government that their new service could deliver a message from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA—a distance of 1,900 miles—in only 10 days. As a result of their claim, the federal government hired their service to carry the mail, and the Pony Express Trail was born.The trail in Tooele County begins at Five Mile Pass at the southern end of the Oquirrh Mountains and proceeds west for over 100 miles across the county’s rugged outback and Great Salt Lake Desert to the remote community of Ibapah 60 miles south of Wendover. Numerous Pony Express Station markers, and a restored Pony Express Station at Simpson Springs, can be seen along the entire route, which is mostly an improved dirt road. Between Vernon and Ibapah, a span of over 75 miles, there are no services. Motorists who make the trip are advised to do so only by SUV, and to bring at least one spare tire, water, food and other emergency supplies.
For visitors who want only a partial experience of the famous trail, it’s recommended to begin at Camp Floyd State Park in Utah County. Visitors can walk through the Stage Coach Inn and see where Orrin Porter Rockwell and Wild Bill Hickman spent the night. An original Pony Express Station is also there.
After departing Camp Floyd, follow SR-73 for approximately 5.1 miles west to Five Mile Pass. At Five Mile Pass, just after entering Tooele County, there’s a sign that reads “Pony Express Trail 1860-1861.” Leave the highway here and follow the asphalt road to the left.
In approximately 6.3 miles the Rush Valley Pony Express Station maker appears on the right. Further west at 7.7 miles, the Faust Station marker can be seen on SR-36. Next, follow SR-36 south for approximately .6 of a mile and turn right onto the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Proceed west for approximately two miles and an information sign leads to the top of a small knoll that overlooks the Pony Express Trail. The overlook includes interpretive display panels that describe the Pony Express Trail and its history. A reenactment ceremony for the trail through Tooele County is usually held every June at the Simpson Springs Pony Express Station.
For more information about the Pony Express Trail and its route through Utah and Tooele County, see www.utah.com/playgrounds/pony_express.htm or call the Tooele County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism at 1-800-378-0690.