The *Sevier River drains a 5,500-square-mile portion of the mountainous transition zone between the eastern border of the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau. The Sevier flows about 240 miles north from Garfield County through desert lands before it bends west and then south to empty into the mostly dry bed of Sevier Lake in West Millard County at the end of its 325-mile length.
During historic times, the Native Americans known as Paiutes and Goshutes have occupied the drainage. When the Dominguez-Escalante party came through the area in 1776, they reported the natives to be more Spanish than Indian because of their beards. The explorers' cartographer, Don Bernardo de Miera, named Sevier Lake after himself and called the river Rio Buenaventura, the "river of the good journey." The Sevier takes its name from an appellation by the Spanish trappers Moricio Arce and Lagos Garcia, who came from Taos in 1813 to trade with the Utes around Utah Lake. Escaping south after troubles with the Utes, they said they traveled to the "Rio Sebero" (also reported as Severo or Seviro--Spanish for "severe" or "violent"). Trapping was popular in the region until about 1830. The river is on the California leg of the old Spanish Trail, a trade route which joined Santa Fe to the west coast; it arched north into the Great Basin to avoid the impassable barrier of the lower Colorado River.