Bureau of Land Management, Utah.
The Hastings Cutoff route was used from 1846 to 1850 by pioneers and gold rushers attempting to save 300 miles off the normal route to California via Idaho. This route was first pioneered by the Fremont expedition in 1845 and promoted a year later by the ambitious Lansford W. Hastings as a shorter route to the Humboldt River in Nevada. However, the Hastings Cutoff involved a perilous 90-mile waterless trek across the Great Salt Lake Desert sand dunes and mud flats in mid-summer heat with heavy wagons. The arduous crossing proved to be agonizing for emigrant parties, and many valuable livestock and wagons were lost to the merciless, punishing desert heat.
Follow Interstate 80 west from Salt Lake City to Wendover via Grantsville, Skull Valley, Cedar Mountains-Hastings Pass, and Silver Island Mountains-Donner Reed Pass.