Cove Fort

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 nearby towns of Beaver and Kanosh, 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), the Gilmer Salisbury Stagecoach line stopped at Cove Fort twice a day, 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.

In 1890 the Church leased the fort out, and in 1911 sold it to the William H. Kesler family who owned it until 1988 when it was purchased by descendants of Ira and Arza Hinckley. Arza was Ira’s brother who helped to build the fort and actually ran it for five years after Ira was called as a stake president for the LDS church.

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.

Plan Your Visit

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, there is a short movie on the history of the fort you can watch in the Hinckley Cabin or in the theater. After watching the video, seek out a missionary/guide to get the full history of the fort and the family that lived there. You can visit the rooms and the inner courtyard on your own, but you’ll miss some really good stories if you don’t go through with a guide. They'll also show you the outbuildings: a blacksmith shop, ice house, bunkhouse, barn and more. 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 Days

Cove Fort has more than 70,000 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 and includes fun for the whole family with horse-drawn stagecoach and wagon rides, pioneer village and continuous on-stage entertainment. Admission to Cove Fort is free.

GPS Coordinates: 38.601787, -112.582178