Living in Las Vegas with family in Utah, we do the drive between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City multiple times each year. Cove Fort might not be a world-famous attraction, but it is a great road stop for anybody making the drive between these two cities.
Where is Cove Fort?
Cove Fort is just off I-15 in south-central Utah between Beaver and Fillmore. There are plenty of signs so if you are even halfway looking for it, you can’t miss the exit.
You will get off the freeway onto Highway 161, headed east. The fort is just a few miles away off Highway 161. You will find the fort very easily as it is the most prominent landmark anywhere nearby.
What is Cove Fort?
Cove Fort is an old stone fort that looks similar to a small castle. it is 100 feet long and 100 feet wide. The walls are 18.5 feet tall and range from 4 feet to 2.5 feet thick. The stone consists of lava rock that was hauled from a local deposit.
The fort was commissioned in 1867 by Brigham Young, the then President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Commonly referred to as Mormons, these early settlers of Utah began spreading south to California around 1847, setting up settlements all along the way.
Construction of the fort was led by Ira Hinckley who, at the direction of Brigham Young, moved his family to Fort Cove to direct the building and operations of Fort Cove. The Fort operated as a place for travelers to rest, refresh and worship in protection.
Cove Fort is still owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has restored it and made a fascinating little museum out of it. Like all attractions operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, admission to Fort Cove is free.
What is there to do at Cove Fort?
Cove Fort has been beautifully maintained by elderly couples that have volunteered their time at Cove Fort. We parked in the parking lot, where there were beautiful flower beds and clean bathrooms. A lady approached us and asked if we would like a tour. Given we didn’t wan’t to delay getting home by to long, I asked how long it would take. She replied however long we wanted.
We went on the free tour with us, and it was great. She was very friendly and knowledgeable. There are a number of rooms in the fort where people stayed, sent telegraphs and so forth that were all presented to us with great explanations. We then explored the yards and the barns and let the kids run around and explore. Our tour guide was great, answering all of our questions and giving our girls some candy.
If you are worried about this being a church site or taking a tour from church volunteers, don’t be. Our tour guide was not preachy at all and you wouldn’t be able to tell she was anything more than a tour guide except from her her kindness and genuine caring approach that made it seem much more like being shown around by your aunt than by a tour guide.
You should definitely stop at Cove Fort if you are traveling between along 1-15 and have time for a 20 minute or longer stop. The Fort is beautifully maintained and has a lot of interesting history. The volunteers are very friendly and accommodating, and there is a lot of room to let the kids run free for a while.