Visible from the road for several miles in either direction, but most apparent when traveling east to west, Devil's Gate is a narrow gorge cut through a ridge of the Granite mountains by the Sweetwater River. The mountains are much older than the river, were covered in ash and sediment, and later uplifted so that erosion cleared away the cover. The Sweetwater river, meandering through a broad valley became trapped in its own river bed when it uncovered the granite ridge, cutting through rather than going around the obstacle. Today, the gorge is 400 feet across the top but only 30 feet across at the bottom.
Pioneers heading west would pass around the ridge to the south and camp in the area, exploring the gorge, carving their names on the rocks and making notes in their journals. Immediately to the west, the area known as Martin's Cove has historical significance to the Latter Day Saints. To the east, Independence Rock rises above the planes and bears the carved names of many pioneers. The Oregon trail passes through and the whole area was a popular summer camp for emigrants heading west.