Cove Fort is one of the few mid-19th century forts built in the Western United States that is still standing, because it was constructed with volcanic rock and limestone from a nearby quarry, rather than with timber. It was built in 1867 by Ira Hinckley at the request of Brigham Young, the then-current president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Built as a safe haven between Fillmore, the former capital of the Mormon Territory, and the closest town of Beaver, Cove Fort served as an important station as Utah and the rest of the West became more established. Due to inadequate water supplies that would be necessary to support a town, however, it was never fully settled.
During its heydey (the two decades after it was built), two stagecoach lines stopped at Cove Fort, and as many as 75 people would stay and eat at the fort at one time. Serving as an important regional communications hub, there was also a telegraph office and a Pony Express post.
The site changed hands several times, and was eventually purchased again by the Hinckley family in 1988. On May 21, 1994, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, dedicated the Historic Cove Fort Complex.
Visiting the unique stone structure is like taking a trip back in time. Standing at 100 feet by 100 feet, Cove Fort has 12 rooms to explore. Each room has been restored to reclaim the look and feel from its first decade of use, and are fully decorated with authentic furnishings and artifacts.
When you arrive and enter the visitor center, there is a short movie on the history of the fort. After watching this, you can meander about the rooms and the inner courtyard, and enjoy lunch or a snack in the shaded picnic area. It makes for an excellent place to simply stretch your legs and take a break as you reach the intersection of I-70 and I-15.
Cove Fort has more than 82,000 visitors annually, and is one of only three forts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Don’t miss Cove Fort Days, which are held the first Friday and Saturday in August. Admission to Cove Fort is free.
GPS Coordinates: 38.601787, -112.582178