Cutoff was a variant of the Sublette Cutoff. It is first
mentioned in diaries of 1852, and that is the generally accepted date
inception. It may have been blazed by mountain man Charles Kinney, but
exact circumstances of the cutoff¹s opening is lost to history.
of heading straight west across the desert from Little Sandy
crossing as does the main Sublette Cutoff, the Kinney Cutoff follows the
Fort Bridger/Salt Lake trail until it reaches a point a few miles before
crossing at Lombard Ferry near where Highway 28 now crosses the river.
Kinney Cutoff headed across the desert for about ten miles and crosses
Green at ferry sites that varied from year to year. In early settlement
times these ferries took on the names of their owners and operators who
named Holden, Dodge, and Case. However, during the heyday of the trail
ferries were operated at different times by Mormons, mountain men, and
occasionally by emigrant companies who stayed a few weeks to earn some
money running a ferry. The principal advantage of the Kinney Cutoff was
that it cut down the waterless desert crossing from the main Sublette¹s
approximate 45 miles to just ten.
crossing the Green at several different points the cutoff soon reached
the valley of Slate Creek, hence the name west of the Green, Slate Creek
Cutoff. The trail follows up Slate Creek about 12 miles to Emigrant
Springs, the first good water west of the river. Here most companies camped.
The springs became a major inscription site, though now the great majority
of the names and dates have worn away. From the springs it was an easy
drive to the foot of Slate Creek Ridge, but the climb directly up the
slope of the ridge was an arduous one. After passing over the ridge, the
Slate Creek Cutoff merges with the Sublette Cutoff coming from the Pine
Grove ascent of Slate Creek Ridge.