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Kenneth Mays
The wagon ruts near Guernsey, Wyoming.

Continuing west from Fort Laramie, Wyoming, pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints followed a trail that was simultaneously the Oregon, California and Mormon Pioneer Trail. This route was used for decades by hundreds of thousands of travelers. Near the town of Guernsey, Wyoming, are two historic sites associated with the trail.

Kenneth Mays
The rock wall known as Register Cliff near Guernsey, Wyoming.

One is a natural rock wall known as Register Cliff. Here, passing travelers would carve their names into the sandstone, or so the tradition goes.

At the other nearby historic site there are deep ruts worn into the rock by wagons, animals and pioneers as they passed by. Ruts, as opposed to soil on the plains, preserve the actual sites where the trails were used. The area’s National Park Service website observes: “The geography of the area dictated that practically every wagon that went west crossed (this) ridge in exactly the same place, with impressive results.”

1 comment on this story

When viewing the Guernsey ruts, there is often a quiet reverence generated in the hearts and minds of visitors. The ruts are tangible reminders of the stories of individuals and families pursuing dreams and the required sacrifice experienced by all those who once trekked here, regardless of destination. So many of those stories have been forgotten or were never learned at all. The ruts near Guernsey are virtually without parallel as far as how clearly they can be seen. In some specific places, the ruts are more than 4 feet deep. The claim has been made that these are the “most dramatic ruts of any trail in the world” (see "Sacred Places, Vol. 6: Wyoming and Utah," LaMar C. Berrett, editor, and A. Gary Anderson, page 24).