The trail over South Pass is a transportation corridor which served many purposes. In addition to being the route to Oregon and California, it was used by Mormon pioneers and by the Pony Express.
A great exodus to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 was only the beginning of Mormon emigrant travel along the Oregon Trail. About 68,000 took the the Utah branch of the trail from 1847 until 1869 when the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad ushered in a new phase of overland travel. The community of Zion at Salt Lake offered economic opportunity as well as religious freedom.
For a brief eighteen months beginning in April, 1860, eight young men carried the nation's mail on horseback for 1600 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. Riding day and night - regardless of weather - on the fastest horses available, Pony Express riders maintained a vital communication link between east and west at the beginning of the Civil War. The completion of the transcontinental telegraph line in October, 1861 marked the end of the Pony Express. Though the owners of the Express lost more than a million dollars, the venture captured the imagination of the entire world.