The Donner-Reed Party’s ill-fated journey across the Great Salt Lake Desert is a significant event in the history of Tooele County. In September 1846, the party, running behind schedule, chose to take a new route across the desert in a bid to make up lost time. However, their miscalculations resulted in them running out of water only partially across the desert, and many members of the party were forced to abandon their belongings in order to make it across alive.
Years later, many of the party’s belongings were retrieved and placed in Grantsville’s Donner-Reed Museum, where visitors can explore the fascinating history of this tragic event. Recently, the California Trail Association installed markers throughout the county to mark the route taken by the Donner-Reed Party and other groups that followed on the Hastings Trail. The first marker can be found in Lake Point, and the rest follow westward through Stansbury Park, Burmester, Timpie, and other locations.