Tollgate Canyon History

Just passing through? In the 1840s, that’s exactly what Parley P. Pratt had in mind. Pratt was searching for an easier route into Salt Lake Valley—one easier than that forged by his contemporaries at the now infamous Donner-Reed company. After surveying the area in the spring of 1848, Pratt was certain he could open an easier road. He planned to avoid the Big and Little Mountains by turning south at Echo Canyon, past Coalville, through the easier terrain of Kimball Junction, then entering the valley through the canyon now known as Parley’s. His route generally followed what is now I-80.

Park City Real Estate history of Tollgate Canyon Pratt advanced the cost of the route out of his own  pocket and charged travelers a toll: fifty cents for a wagon drawn by one animal, seventy-five cents for a wagon drawn by two animals, ten cents for each additional pack or saddle animal, five cents a head for loose stock, and a penny a head for each sheep. The tollgate was just below Suicide Rock at the canyon mouth.

Pratt opened his "Golden Pass" on July 4, 1850. His announcement in the Desert News of July 20, 1850 said that a party of ten men, the "Newark Rangers" from Kendall County, Illinois, had taken the new road and pronounced it "good."

Truth be told, while a clumsy and time-consuming passage was made by the Donner-Reed company crossing the Wasatch, they clearly found the best route. Brigham Young's pioneer companies, arriving in 1847, merely had to smooth the rough portions of road cut by the California wagon train.

Since then, Tollgate Canyon has continued to attract some of our country’s more colorful, adventurous and inventive folks--each looking to experience life in stead of merely passing through it.