native american ruins

Archeological evidence from Utah’s Paleolithic peoples still draws people to Utah. Beautiful petroglyphs across the state tell stories of the Anasazi people who first lived here more than 10,000 years ago. Spanish explorers, Catholic priests, and mountain men—Provo was named for French Canadian fur trader Étienne Provost—preceded Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers.

The Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado probably crossed into what is now southern Utah in 1540. Later, a group led by two Spanish Catholic priests—often referred to as the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition—left Santa Fe in 1776 in search of a route to California. The expedition traveled as far north as Utah Lake and encountered native residents.

Jim Bridger and other fur trappers explored Utah in the early 19th century. One year before the arrival of the Mormon pioneers, the Donner party crossed through the Salt Lake valley. Mormon pioneers first came to the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847.


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