Southern Utah SUV trip March 2005

We made a trip to Southern Utah in March 2005 to see the area and do some exploring.   We found that there were many things that you could do with just a plain stock SUV and decided to show you what we had seen.   I marked some of the locations with my GPS and I will provide the coordinates as we go through the trip.

For all pictures from the trip click HERE.

Passing Windmills on highway 58 near Tehachipi
Along highway 58 when you are heading towards Barstow from Mojave you can see these large buildings on the hillside in the distance.   I had often wondered what they were, and only knew that they were part of Edwards Air Force Base.   I watched a show on the History Channel about them and found out that they are used to test rocket motors.   That makes sense why the road leading to them is named Rocket Site Road.
A sunset behind us.

The first place we went during out trip was to Kolob Canyons.   The weather that day was mixed, and during the small excursion we had a little of everything.

Kolob Canyons is located off of Interstate 15 about 20 miles south of Cedar City at exit 40, near New Harmony.   There is a visitors center there where you will need to stop and pay a $10 use fee. 

Kolob Canyons - Zion National Park Service
Kolob Canyon, Ut 84720

For all pictures of Kolob Canyons click HERE.

From the parking lot at the summit, a great shot of the mountains.
Right after I took the last picture, it started snowing on us.   It was coming down fast and it was almost like soft hail with huge chunks.

In just a few minutes there was a nice dusting.

We next headed to Old Irontown Ruins.

Old Irontown is located two and half miles down a marked dirt road southwest from State Highway 56 about 21 miles west of Cedar City.  You will see signes on Highway 56 leading to it.

For all pictures from Old Irontown Ruins click HERE.
There are full size pictures so you can easily read all the descriptions.

For a virtual picture of Old Irontown, click HERE.

My son examines one of the old grinding pits.

Next we headed to Parowan Gap to see the Petroglyphs.

To get to Parowan Gap take Cedar City's main street north to Utah 130, or take I-15 to exit 62. Go north on 130 for about 14 miles then turn east (right turn) onto a paved / gravel road.   Parowan Gap will be visible when you turn onto the road about a mile away.

For all pictures from Parowan Gap Petroglyphs click HERE.

There were quite a few petroglyphs.   You can click HERE to see any of the petroglyph pictures in a full size version, but beware, they are large pictures!

Our next destination was Grafton Ghost Town.  Because this was a little harder to find, I took GPS coordinates.  All the coordinates for the trip are below.

To get there, first drive to the town of Rockville along Utah 9 and turn south onto Bridge Road.

The first thing you will see is an old one lane bridge that crosses the Virgin River.   

You can see the old bridge from the main road (9).

For all picture of Grafton Ghost Town click HERE.

After you cross the bridge, follow the road for about 2 miles.   At this point, the road turns South and heads into the mountains, and to the North the road had a "Dead End" sign.  The road to the north (the "Dead End") is the way to Grafton Ghost Town.   

The road to the South is a fairly good road that cuts all the way across to highway 59.  I suspect that during rainy times the road is not passable, but when the ground is dry any stock 4x4 suv should have no problems.  We even passed a few minivans carefully picking their way along the road to highway 59.  From the North / South Junction, if you turn south it is about 9 miles to highway 59. The scenery along the way is spectacular.

This first part we played on is not part of Grafton Ghost Town, but the trail to 59 that we decided to explore.

My son looking at all the different rocks.   In the area where we were at, the layers of sandstone had these smaller rocks embedded in them.   On the top, where the sandstone had eroded away, the rocks were left behind.  

This was also part of the trail to 59, not Grafton Ghost Town.

  After you turn north at the north / south junction it is about 2 miles to the first point of interest.

The first thing that you will see when you head to Grafton Ghost Town is the old town cemetery.  It will be on your left as you head to the town.

All coordinates for the Grafton Ghost Town trip are below.

For all picture of Grafton Ghost Town click HERE.

There are quite a few graves of children.  In those harsh times, many of them did not make it for very long.   This is evident by the graves of the children of John and Charlotte Ballard, who's 5 children all died between 1865 and 1877, with the oldest making it to 9 years old.
This entire family was killed by indians.
Some of the remaining structures.   A restoration project is under way.
The old school house.

Here are all the coordinates for the Grafton Ghost Town trip.  All of my coordinates are in the hddd°mm.mmm' format, with a WGS 84 map datum.

The Junction of Utah 9 and Bridge Road is: N 37°09.666' , W 113°02.264'
Waypoint One: N37°09.361' , W113°02.743'
Waypoint Two: N37°09.311' , W113°02.970'
Right turn towards "Dead End":  N37°09.123' , W113°03.593'
Waypoint Three:  N37°09.378' , W113°03.958'
Waypoint Four:  N37°09.576' , W113°04.386'
Grafton Cemetery:  N37°09.783' , W113°04.864'
Grafton Ghost Town:  N37°10.044' , W113°04.928'

Next we headed to Silver Reef.   This is the only place in the U.S. that silver was found in sandstone.

For all picture of Silver Reef click HERE.

Old TNT detonator.
Behind the old Wells Fargo building in what I believe was the old jail is a scale model of what the town used to look like.

Some ruins of the old buildings.   Silver Reef was at one time quite a large town.  

Below are old pictures of some of the mines and also models of them.

Stormont Mine Picture

Stormont Mine Model
Old Christy Mill Picture
Old Christy Mill Model
Barbee & Walker Mill Picture
Barbee & Walker Mill Model
On the way home we saw areas that are normally dry lake beds filled with water.   The desert was in full bloom!   I have never seen so many flowers in these areas before.
Back to the Old Trips Page
Back to the Home Page


© Information contained on these pages cannot be copied or recreated in any way without the express written permission of the owner,