Sweetwater Canyon

About a day's travel upstream from Sixth Crossing (and beyond Seventh and Eighth Crossings) the valley of the Sweetwater narrows to a rocky canyon as the river cuts through steeply tilted rock layers. Unable to follow the river's course beyond this point, the trail departs to the north of the river, making its own way through "Rocky Ridge".

Somewhere near this spot the advance rescue party found the Willie Handcart Company huddled in the snows of October 1856. At the encouragement of the advance party, the company then marched in a single grueling day all the way across the ridge to meet the supply wagons at Rock Creek. There is a monument commemorating the rescue part way up the Rocky Ridge climb, but the actual site of the rescue was apparently below the monument site.

The river valley at the base of Rocky Ridge -- the gap visible at the upper right is the start of the Sweetwater Canyon

The view back downstream from within the Sweetwater Canyon

MSR Maps link for this location