Mormon Handcart Trail and Clear Creek Nature Trail Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"This trail begins where the Mormons built their handcarts to begin their 1,400-mile trek to Salt Lake City. It follows Clear Creek through the beautiful training fields for University of Iowa sports teams. In 1856 the railroad west ended in Iowa City. Pioneers and other travelers had to rely on horses, wagons, and their own feet to continue the westward expansion. That year thousands of Mormons gathered in Iowa City, having arrived from an already onerous trip that started in Wales and England.
Many had already depleted their meager finances and couldn’t afford covered wagons and the horses, oxen, or mules needed to
pull them. Then Brigham Young had a brilliant idea. Instead
of wagons, the immigrants could purchase smaller handcarts
that they could pull themselves. The 3 x 4-foot handcarts would be stocked with 400 to 600 pounds of food, clothing,
bedding, and all of the earthly possessions needed to head west to Salt Lake City, over 1,300 miles away."