Mormon Trail

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail traces the route that Brigham Young and his followers took when relocating the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’. A group of over 15,000 Mormons traveled west from Nauvoo, Illinois in hopes of ending up at the Great Basin beyond the Rocky Mountains.

On June 14, 1846, thousands of pioneers reached Council Bluffs, then known as Kanesville. Here they created the Grand Encampment which included over 90 cluster settlements within a 40-mile radius of Council Bluffs. They stayed in the area before ultimately continuing their journey west.

Follow the trail through Pottawattamie County! There are several significant spots along the way.

West Nishnabotna River Crossing at Old Towne Park in Macedonia, IA

The pioneers had to build a bridge to cross the West Nishnabotna River as they traveled west towards Council Bluffs on July 12, 1846. The original bridge no longer exists but there is a 10,000 pound, red granite boulder that commemorates where the Mormons approached the West Nishnabotna in Macedonia. Find Google Map directions to Old Towne Park here


The Grand Encampment (Iowa School for the Deaf, Council Bluffs, IA)

The Grand Encampment was where the Mormons stayed while they were in Council Bluffs. The camp stretched for miles but was located where Iowa School for the Deaf is currently at. Along the Iowa School for the Deaf Nature Trail, you will find a grounds marker with information about the encampment and the Mormon battalion mustering grounds.


Western Historic Trails Center (Council Bluffs, IA)

The Western Historic Trails Center has an exhibit dedicated to the Mormon Trail. Learn what the early travelers experienced when traveling across Iowa.


Kanesville Tabernacle & Visitor Center (Council Bluffs, IA)

The original tabernacle was built in December 1847 in Council Bluffs. This is the location that a meeting was held in which they sustained Brigham Young as the President of the Church.  The tabernacle was reconstructed and now is a historical site that includes exhibits and historical artifacts about the Mormon Battalion and the Mormon Trail.

Grand Encampment / Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds Marker

1600 S. Highway 275
Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Kanesville Tabernacle & Visitor Center

222 E. Broadway
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 322-0500

Old Town Park

12515 385th St
Macedonia, IA 51549
(712) 741-5465

Western Historic Trails Center

3434 Richard Downing Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
(712) 366-4900

Trail Map

More Trails to Explore

Loess Hills National Scenic Byway (TM)

Marvel at this national trail that is rated among the best trails in the nation.

Pioneer Trail

Follow along this trail and experience the arduous trek west for pioneers.

What in the World?- On the Trail for Stranger Things

What does an angel of death, a round jail, a spider,and goat yoga have in common?

Wabash Trace Nature Trail

Take an amazing trip through Southwest Iowa, home to the Taco Ride.

Lewis and Clark Trail

Follow Lewis and Clark’s great journey west.

All Trails

Go back to our full list of trails!