Gate of Death and Devil's Gate were names given to this area during the Oregon Trail period. These names referred to a narrow break in the rocks through which the trail passed. Emigrants apparently feared that Indians might be waiting in ambush. Diaries record a series of skirmishes between the Shoshone Indians and emigrants on August 9 and 10, 1862. Ten emigrants died in the fight, which involved four wagon trains. The skirmishes took place east of the park and not at Devil’s Gate as commonly believed. Some confrontations may have occurred there, but they remain unverified.
Oregon Trail remnants are most easily seen from highway rest areas in either end of the park.
The prehistoric Bonneville Flood shaped the landscape of the area, rolling and polishing the huge boulders found throughout the park. The flood was caused when eroding waters broke through Red Rock Pass near the Idaho/Utah border. Lake Bonneville, which covered much of what is today the state of Utah, surged through the pass and along the channel of the Snake River in a few short months. For a time, the flow was four times that of the Amazon River. It was the second largest flood in the geologic history of the world.
Plants and Animals
Location: 10 miles west of American Falls, (off
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