In 1861, surveyor Edward Berthoud and mountain man Jim Bridger were hired by several Denver area business men to find a suitable railroad route across the Rocky Mountains. It was a daunting task given that the Divide exceeded 11,000 feet in elevation for much of its was across Colorado. In July of that year Berthoud found the mountain pass that noew bears his name. Due to the elevation and difficult terrain he decided the road over the pass would be a more suitable wagon road than one for the railroad.
The pair returned to Denver to announce their findings and again headed west following a route that would be used by Route 40. Their route passed through present day Empite, Berthoud Pass, Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling, Muddy Pass, Rabbitr Ears Pass, Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Craig, Maybell, Dinosaur, Jensen and Vernal. Beyond Vernal the pair swung to the north of Route 40 and eventually reached Salt Lake City. They had established an elusive overland wagon road between the two cities.
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Last updated: 2010-11-26 10:04:15