The Route: Rock Springs to Reno

Pilots flying the mail cross-country in 1921 followed these directions to find landmarks along the way.

A Varney Air Lines Swallow outside the airmail hangar at Elko, Nevada in April 1926. (NASM (SI-85-6459))

U. S. Air Mail Service
Pilots’ Directions (February 1921)

Rock Springs to Salt Lake City

Miles from Cheyenne

231.    Rock Springs—After passing Black Butte, Pilot Butte will be seen projecting above and forming a part of the Table Mountain Range. This butte is of whitish stone. Head directly toward Pilot Butte and Rock Springs will be passed on the northern side. The field is in the valley at the foot of Pilot Butte about 4 miles from Rock Springs. It is triangular in shape, the hangar being located in the apex. The surface of the field is good. The best approach is from the eastern side.246.    Green River—Follow the Union Pacific double-tracked railroad from Rock Springs. There is an emergency field here which is distinguished [on] account of its being the only cleared space of its size, near the town. Green river is crossed immediately after the city of Green River is passed. Here the course leaves the railroad which continues in a northwesterly direction. By flying approximately 230˚ compass course from here, Cheyenne [Salt Lake City] will be reached.

258.    Black Fork River—A very irregular river, which is crossed at right angles. From Black Fork to Coalville the Union Pacific tracks are from 5 to 20 miles north of the course.

282.    Granger—16 miles north of the course on the Union Pacific where the Oregon Short Line joins the Union Pacific from the north.

330.    Altamont—On the Union Pacific where the Union Pacific approaches within 6 miles of the course to the north. The railroad passes through a short tunnel at this point.

338.    Evanston—After approaching within 6 miles of the course, the railroad turns sharply to the northwest. Evanston is on the Union Pacific 18 miles north of the course. There is a good emergency landing field on the southwest side of Evanston, a mile from the railroad station. From Evanston the Union Pacific tracks curve toward the course until Coalville is reached.

363.    Coalville—On the single track Union Pacific running north and south. The single track Union Pacific joins the double track 4 miles north of Coalville at Echo City. There is an emergency landing field here a mile east of the railroad and one-half mile southeast of town. There is a marker on this field.

381.    Salt Lake City—From Coalville the country is extremely rugged and the pilot should maintain at least 11,000 feet altitude above sea level. The field lies 2 miles west of the city on the north side of the road or street which extends east-west by the Salt Lake fair grounds. Locate the fair grounds, identified by an elliptical race track and large buildings. Follow westward along the road just south of the fair grounds and the field will be reached 1 ½ miles farther on. The field is about one-half mile long north and south and landings are usually made in one of these directions. A landing T is used to indicate the proper place to land. Elevation here is 4,400 feet. High-tension wires border all sides of the field except the north.

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