My heart felt truly glad, and I rejoiced at having the privilege of beholding this extensive and beautiful valley, that may yet become a home for the Saints. From this point we could see the blue waters of the Salt Lake. By ascending one of the ridges at the mouth of this canyon, the view over the valley is at once pleasing and interesting. These high mountains on the east side, extending to the head of the valley about fifty miles to the south, many of them white on the tops and crevices with snow. At the south end is another mountain, which bounds the valley in that direction, and at its western extremity it is joined by another range, forming its western boundary to the valley and extending in a northerly direction until it ceases abruptly nearly west of this place. The valley between these mountains is judged to be twenty-five to thirty miles wide at the north end of the last mentioned mountain. The level valley extends to the Salt Lake which is plainly visible for many miles in a western direction from this place. In the lake, and many miles beyond this valley are two mountains projecting high in the air, forming a solemn but pleasing contrast with the dark blue waters of the lake. Beyond these two mountains and in the distance, in a direction between them, is another high dark mountain supposed to be on the western boundary of the lake, and judged to be eighty to one hundred miles from here. At this distance we can see, apparently, but a small surface of the water, extending between this valley and the mountains referred to, but that surface is probably thirty miles wide. Looking to the northwest, another mountain appears, extending to the north till hidden by the eastern range. At the base of this mountain is a long ridge of white substance, which from its bright shining appearance is doubtless salt, and was probably caused by the dashing of the waves and then hardened by the sun . . .
This valley is bounded by high mountains, some of them covered with snow and from what knowledge we have of it at present, this is the most safe and secure place the Saints could possibly locate themselves in. Nature has fortified this place on all sides, with only a few narrow passes, which could be made impregnable without much difficulty. The scarcity of timber has probably been the reason that thi sbeautiful valley ahs not been settled long since by the Gentiles. But I think we can find sufficient timber up the creeks for present purposes, and also coal in the mountains. The saints have reason to rejoice, and thank the Lord for this goodly land unpopulated by the Gentiles.
Account quoted from Journal of the Trail, Glazier and Clark, 1997, p174–175