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The Honeymoon Trail Part 2

Posted in Events on March 17, 2011
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Editor’s Note: In the April issue of 4WD&SU, we explored the Temple Trail that was used to acquire lumber for building the temple in St. George, Utah. In the May issue we published the first part in this series about Ida Hunt’s journey to the temple to be married. Part Two picks up her journey in Kanab, Utah, and includes the long ride down the Hurricane Cliffs.

Saturday, May 20, 1882
Ida Frances Hunt arrived in Kanab, Utah, after spending two weeks on the Honeymoon Trail from her home in Snowflake, Arizona. She was riding in the wagon of her future husband, David King Udall. They were on their way to the newly built temple in St. George, Utah, where Ida would become David’s wife.

David and Ella were among the pioneers who answered the mission’s call to build settlements in Arizona. Of course, this was long before that region existed as a state. Except for the newly arriving Mormons, the only residents were scattered tribes of natives. David and Ella were among the group that established the town of St. Johns.

On the date above, the group of four wagons arrived in Kanab. They spent some time resting and visiting friends and relatives before leaving on Monday, May 22. By noon on Tuesday, they were at Pipe Spring filling their water barrels and purchasing food supplies from the ranch at Winsor Castle.

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Lone Writer pulled into Pipe Spring National Monument about noon on a sunny day. More than 128 years had come and gone since Ida’s caravan stopped for water and supplies. One hundred and forty years had passed since Brigham Young purchased the property that included Pipe Spring. He appointed Anson Winsor as ranch manager. Winsor built a fort called Winsor Castle, which enclosed the spring. A telegraph line was built connecting Winsor Castle to other Mormon communities and to the headquarters in Salt Lake City. The ranch headquartered at Winsor Castle became a cattle and dairy ranch stocked by animals donated to the church by its members. In those days, instead of passing the plate at church, members donated 10 percent of their profits, which often showed up in the form of living animals.

Pipe Spring became a national monument in 1923. Tours of the restored Winsor Castle are available. Other structures are open to visitors during park hours. It is surrounded by the Kaibab-Paiute Reservation. The Honeymoon Trail crossed the lands that became the reservation, but it has not been preserved. Exploring on the reservation or searching for the trail without permission is not permitted.

Although the approximate location of the trail from Kanab can be determined, the environment has reclaimed the tracks for many miles west of the spring. While Lone Writer searched for anyone who had historical information about the Honeymoon Trail, Happy Jack and Muley explored the desert outside the reservation, looking for its remains.

Happy Jack had previously plotted the trail on his laptop using DeLorme TopoUSA software by referring to old maps and stories. It turned out his plotted trail was fairly accurate. He came across a trail marker in an open area on the west side of Highway 389. There was no road or trail. On a direct line going west from that marker, he found another one beside a dirt road going over a cattleguard. Happy Jack and Muley followed the trail from that point to within a few miles of St. George, Utah. They returned to the first trail marker and called Lone Writer. Happy Jack provided his GPS position so Lone Writer could meet him at the cattleguard.

The trail going west from the cattleguard crossed wide-open BLM-managed lands. The plateaus in the distance provided many scenic views, but the land was baron. Although it is used for ranching, the only evidence was a few fence lines and corrals.

The most interesting part of the trail for the crew came after about 20 miles where they reached the edge of Hurricane Cliffs. They were looking down a 1,000-foot drop with only a narrow, rocky path connecting the top to the bottom. It is interesting that Hurricane Cliffs were not mentioned in Ida’s diary. Although taking a wagon down the side of the cliffs must have been done with great care, it did not rate high enough on her scale of hardships to even be mentioned.

Happy Jack led the way as he and Lone Writer made the descent. It was not difficult but staying on the trail required undivided attention. There were rocks and ruts to navigate without a lot of room. Being distracted by the majestic view could result in a quick trip to the bottom.

Wednesday, May 24th, 1882
Ida Hunt and her party arrived in St. George at the end of the day. At 5:30 in the afternoon on the following the day, she married David King Udall in the Temple.

Friday, September 17, 2010
After spending the night in a camp near the base of Hurricane Cliffs, the journey along the Honeymoon Trail was complete. Lone Writer, Happy Jack, and Muley would spend some time in St. George, fueling the vehicles and stocking supplies before the start of their next adventure.

It is encouraging that such routes as the Honeymoon Trail can still be traveled using modern vehicles. There is very little similarity between making the journey in a 4x4 vehicle and doing it in a farm wagon pulled by a couple plow horses. Although we can not experience life in 1882, we can let our imaginations bridge the gap across 128 years.

The tires on Lone Writer’s vehicle are provided by BFGoodrich. GPS mapping is provided by DeLorme. For more information visit

PhotosView Slideshow

Navigation: GPS Positions
Travel west on Highway 389 to just past milepost 5. This is a left turn and the road is not marked. It is a gravel road and is called County Road 5 on the map. The first GPS position below marks that turn.
Trip Meter Latitude Position North Longitude Position West Landmarks and Other Locations
0.0 N 36 56.8132 W 112 57.3496 Turn west off Highway 389 onto County Road 5.
2.6 N36 56.8178 W113 0.2929 Take the left fork going under the power line.
6.7 N36 53.3963 W113 1.6109 Turn right and follow the fence line.
10.6 0.0 N36 52.8937 W113 5.7832 At this cattleguard, the road connects to the original trail. The road from Pipe Spring to this point has returned to nature with no indication of where it was other than the markers. From this point, another marker to the east can be seen in the distance with no road nearby.
0.5 N36 52.8962 W113 6.3709 This is a three-way split. Take the right fork.
5.3 0.0 N36 54.5002 W113 10.9190 Turn left at this Y. The correct route is less used.
1.7 N36 55.4880 W113 12.1509 Turn right into the wash then take the road on the other side going left.
2.4 N36 55.8863 W113 12.7450 Continue straight onto the road more traveled.
4.2 0.0 N36 56 7619 W113 14.2032 Turn right on the graded county road.
4.5 0.0 N37 0.1007 W113 16.4764 At the top of the hill after the state line, take the left fork. There is a trail marker after making that turn.
1.2 N37 0.0366 W113 17.6444 After the cattle guard, take the right fork to go down the side of Hurricane Cliffs.
2.6 N36 59.7201 W113 18.4859 Take the right fork here and turn left at the marker.
N36 59.5396 W113 19.1485 Take the faint trail to the right, then right again. Markers can be seen in that direction.
4.3 N36 59.6795 W113 20.2678 After going straight at a four-way intersection, take the left fork at the next Y. Other intersections follow. Watch for trail markers
5.9 0.0 N36 59.9130 W113 21.9203 Turn right. This is another trail called Dominguez and Escalante. We used it to avoid paint abuse on the ATV trails ahead.
At this point, the original trail goes straight, but it is a maze of ATV trails. We used the D&E trail to connect to a graded road and go to Fort Pierce. The Honeymoon Trail passes through the fort.
0.2 N37 0.1127 W113 21.9865 Cross to west side of the fence.
0.7 N37 0.5506 W113 21.9953 Turn left on the graded road. It passes Fort Pierce and then continues to St. George.
3.8 0.0 N37 0.8187 W113 24.5245 Left to Fort Pierce. Straight to St George. Happy Trails.

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