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Map of the Seminoe Cutoff

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 Pass.
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 T27N/R101W.
National Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
This route has been marked by the BLM and there are no known threats to the area.

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