Martin's Cove

In early November 1856 the struggling Martin handcart company, with assistance from the rescue party from Salt Lake City, passed Devil's Gate and sought shelter at the small stockade where the LDS visitor's center is now located. The stockade was inadequate for the large group, and with snow over a foot deep, temperatures below zero, and a strong wind (it seems it's always windy in the Sweetwater Valley!) they were assisted over the freezing river and a few miles north into a sheltered cove. Here, a large sand dune blocking the cove entrance provided shelter from the winds and there was firewood available. The company spent five days here waiting for the weather to break and more help to arrive. They would eventually reach Salt Lake City on November 30, having lost between 150 and 167 members, about one-fourth of the company.

Excellent histories of the Mormon handcart companies (and the efforts to save them) are found in books Rescue of the 1856 Handcart Companies by Rebecca Bartholomew and Leonard J. Arrington and The Gathering of Zion by Wallace Stegner.

Martin's Cove in the Granite Mountains north of Devil's Gate

Another view of Martin's Cove

The view west from the entrance of Martin's Cove

Looking out over the Sweetwater Valley from the Martin's Cove area

MSR Maps link for this location