Travel along the same trail the pioneers did on this expert-led tour

Promotional image courtesy of Southwest Adventure Tours, St. George News / Cedar City News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — If you’ve ever wanted to travel the same path Utah pioneers walked and walked and walked, this expert-led tour is one you can’t miss. Ride across the plains of the Midwest as you listen to professional storytellers Glenn Rawson and Dennis Lyman give an in-depth history of the saints as they trekked through the country.

Promotional image courtesy of Southwest Adventure Tours, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Mormon Pioneer Trail Tour focuses entirely on The Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ pioneer history, and your guides are a wealth of knowledge on the topic.

Rawson has spent 15 years immersed in pioneer history. He’s made LDS Church history documentaries, authored three (almost four) books, hosted a podcast for three years about pioneer stories and produced 500 to 600 full-production videos about pioneers on the trail as well.

He also knows all about the people who traversed this trail and died along the way. Every mile marks a burial of at least one pioneer – and he can tell you about all of them.

But don’t worry – it’s not a historical lecture. It’s intended to be an edifying and spiritual lecture.

A few of the sites you’ll see

The first tour will journey from Salt Lake City to Nauvoo, Illinois, by bus, stopping at all the major sites and landmarks along the trail until you reach Nauvoo. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to journey with two people who know the history of this trail inside and out.

Here’s just a snapshot of some of the major sites you’ll see on the tour:

  • Journey along the Mormon Trail.
  • Fort Laramie National Historic Site.
  • Scottsbluff National Monument.
  • Chimney Rock National Monument.
  • Tour the Mormon Trail Center at Winter Quarters.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat cruise.
  • Historic Liberty Jail.
Promotional image courtesy of Southwest Adventure Tours, St. George News / Cedar City News

When it comes to digging into the history of early LDS members, Rawson and Lyman are the go-to guys. You might have caught their shows, such as “History of the Saints” or “The Joseph Smith Papers,” airing on KSL-TV and BYU-TV. They’re all about bringing those early church stories to life for audiences everywhere.

They also happen to be pretty amazing teachers and speakers. These two have been sharing stories and insights for years, whether it’s on the airwaves or at events like BYU Education Week. Their passion for storytelling makes history feel real and relatable.

The pioneer trail tour is a chance for you to learn about the settlers’ history in an intimate setting. They invite you to join them as you stand in the ruts of the trail – literally and figuratively – while they regale you with stories of the people, places and events that made that part of history sacred.

What’s included

Both the Eastbound Mormon Trail tour and the Westbound Mormon Trail tour cost $2,360 per person when someone else books with you. To save even more, a group of three costs $2,230 per person, and a group of four is $2,165 per person. There are solo traveler options available; just visit the Southwest Adventure Tours website to learn more.

Here’s what’s included in the cost of the tour:

  • Comfortable transportation on a luxury bus.
  • Six nights hotel accommodations.
  • Six breakfasts, two lunches and four dinners.
  • A Mark Twain Riverboat dinner cruise.
  • Gratuities for included meals.
  • Gratuities for the bus driver.

Airfare is not included.

Tour dates

The Eastbound Mormon Trail tour, which departs from Salt Lake City and makes its way to Nauvoo, will be June 3-9 and Sept. 14-20 this year. Should you prefer to make your way from Nauvoo back to Salt Lake City instead, the westbound tour is June 9-15 and Sept. 20-26.

More about your guides

Promotional image courtesy of Southwest Adventure Tours, St. George News / Cedar City News

In addition to his podcasts and TV shows, Rawson’s involvement in the history and teaching of Latter-day Saint history is widespread. With nearly two decades as a seminary and institute teacher, he’s a natural educator and captivating fireside speaker. His expertise has graced platforms like BYU Education Week and Know Your Religion, while his stories have touched hearts through radio programs and beyond.

Lyman, Rawson’s co-host, is the visionary behind breathtaking documentaries on pioneer temples and the co-creator of “History of the Saints.” With a rich broadcasting history and a lineage deeply rooted in Latter-day Saint heritage, Lyman brings stories to life through his lens, preserving legacies for generations to come.

Together, Rawson and Lyman weave tales of faith, history and humanity, leaving an indelible mark on those who listen.

Enjoy an edifying and spiritual experience on the Pioneer Trail

This isn’t just like any regular tour. Guided by fun, engaging and knowledgeable tour hosts, you’ll walk the same path as those who came before you, and hearing their stories will deepen your appreciation for them. There’s a good chance you’ll never be the same – and that’s a good thing.

To sign up for the tour, find out more or see the full itinerary for the Mormon Pioneer Trail tour, visit

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