In the 1850s, Rock Creek Hollow was a well-used campsite west of Rocky Ridge, a challenging segment of the Oregon-Mormon-California Trail that climbs 600 feet (180 meters) over a distance of about 3 miles (5 kilometers).
Rock Creek Hollow now features a memorial honoring the Willie handcart company’s faith and sacrifice. It does not include a visitors’ center. During the summer months, missionaries greet visitors at Rock Creek Hollow and share stories related to the Willie handcart company’s crossing of Rocky Ridge. Also during the summer season, Latter-day Saints participate in trek reenactments at this site. For information about organizing a trek for a family or Church group at this historic site, click or tap here.
On October 23, 1856, two days after a harrowing experience at Sixth Crossing on the Sweetwater River, the Willie handcart company climbed Rocky Ridge during a severe snowstorm. In blizzard conditions, some company members walked parts of the trail multiple times as they helped their families and company members reach camp. There are a number of pioneer graves at Rock Creek Hollow, and some of them might belong to members of the Willie handcart company. The company buried 15 members before leaving their camp on October 25. Rescue parties helped the survivors travel the remaining 266 miles (428 kilometers) through South Pass on the Continental Divide to their destination in Salt Lake City. Arriving by November 9, they received donated provisions from local Relief Society organizations and were placed in warm homes.