This cutoff was blazed
in 1853. It remained south of the Sweetwater River, thereby avoiding four
of the crossings as well as the infamous Rocky Ridge. It got its name
from Basil LaJeunesse, a trapper who married an Indian woman and was known
as Seminoe by the Shoshone Indians with whom he lived. This route became
the preferred route of the later Mormon companies. It branches off from
the main trail about three miles southeast of Sweetwater Station.
The Seminoe Cutoff leaves the main Oregon-California Trail at Warm Springs
a few miles east of the Sixth Crossing of the Sweetwater River. It is
believed that the route is named for Basil LaJeunesse whose was known
among the Indians as Seminoe.
The exact circumstances of the cutoff's opening are unknown, but it is
believed that it was first traveled by covered wagons in 1852. The principal
advantage of the route is that it avoids the last four crossings of the
Sweetwater River altogether, and by using other trail variants east of
Warm Springs, the river would have to have been crossed only once, at
the first crossing near Independence Rock. Early in the season, in times
of high water, this would be highly desirable. The Seminoe Cutoff also
allowed the wagons to bypass Rocky Ridge, a very rough segment of trail
between the Eighth and Ninth crossings of the Sweetwater.
The Seminoe Cutoff's main disadvantage was a scarcity of water, but there
were a few springs along the way that could accommodate wagons trains
of moderate size. There is one marked grave at Emigrant Springs on the
Seminoe, that of Sarah Thomas who died in 1854. The Seminoe Cutoff rejoins
the main trail west of the Ninth Crossing and a few miles east of South
The cutoff was used heavily during the late 1850s, it became the preferred
route of the Mormon companies, but later the Overland Stage and Pony Express
routes kept to the main trail, mainly because it was a somewhat shorter
route than the Seminoe Cutoff.
Fremont County, Wyoming. Begins in section T29N/R95W. Ends in section
National Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
This route has been marked by the BLM and there are no known threats to