Muddy Gap sits at a crossroads of many historic sites related to the Oregon and Mormon Trails. From Muddy Gap, Independence Rock is 18 miles northeast, Split Rock is 10 miles to the northwest; Devils Gate is 14 miles northeast, and Martin's Cove is 12 miles north. The Oregon / Mormon Trail is a system of trails from Missouri to Oregon that was traveled by an estimated 500,000 people from 1812 to 1869. Travelers included Native Americans, fur trappers, homesteaders lured west, Mormons escaping religious prosecution, Pony Express riders, and those seeking fortune during the California Gold Rush of 1849. Independence Rock was a well-known landmark and popular resting place along the trail. It was a goal to reach Independence Rock by July 4th to remain on schedule and avoid winter weather. Known as the "Great Register of the Desert," over 5,000 emigrant name carvings still remain visible on the rock. Split Rock was a landmark and navigation marker on the trail due to its unique shape and prominent position, making it visible for days before and after arrival upon it. Devil's Gate served as a landmark and is a precipitous slot-canyon carved in a granite ridge by the flow of the Sweetwater River. Devil's Gate may have gotten its name due to the occurrence of several murders in the area during the
emigrant era, leading some to believe that the site was "bedeviled." In 1856 the Martin Handcart Company, left Iowa City to travel west to Salt Lake City, Utah. These emigrants were on foot pulling handcarts. They reached a crossing on the North Platte River near Casper in mid-October when a blizzard enveloped them. Some of the Martin Company reached a shelter area near the Sweetwater Mountains near Split Rock, later called Martin's Cove.