Water Canyon and Bruin Point

Parked in Whitmore CanyonYesterday after work I scrambled to load my ATV and gear so I could go for a quick evening ride near East Carbon/Sunnyside. I parked at the rodeo grounds in Whitmore Canyon, just past Sunnyside, and unloaded the 4-wheeler at about 4:45 PM. Before I started riding, I hiked a short distance to some rock art that a friend had told me about a couple of years ago. I began the ride along the pavement in Whitmore Canyon, stopping only to look up a couple of canyons that looked interesting. They each had “No Trespassing” signs near the dirt roads leading up the canyons, but there were no gates. 😉
Tram structure in Water CanyonI got to the turnoff for Water Canyon, where the graded dirt road begins, and stopped briefly to look at the bottom end of the old aerial tram. It’s a huge wooden structure that is mostly overgrown with trees and brush, but the tram cables and ore cars are still suspended and run up the mountainside to other support structures. I continued riding another quarter-mile up Water Canyon, where I stopped again to hike to one of the tram support structures to check on a geocache of mine that had been reported missing by two people. The hike was short and steep, and I was surprised to find the cache still there, though about 10′ from where I’d originally hidden it. Since the cache has gotten so few visits (15 in the past six years) and the hike really isn’t all that fun, I decided to pack the cache out and remove the online listing.
Asphalt seeping out of the sandstoneThe rest of the ride up Water Canyon was fairly quick. I stopped only to take a few photos, then I hit the switchbacks where the road climbs out of Water Canyon up to Bruin Point. About halfway up the switchbacks is the old rock asphalt mine. The aerial tram ends near a sharp curve in the road, but the actual mine is farther up a steep, rocky hillside from the top of the tram. I hiked around the area a bit, but I didn’t have time to hike all the way to the mine. Someday I’ll have to plan a trip just to visit the mine. I placed a geocache close to where I’d parked the ATV, then continued up the road to Bruin Point.
Bruin PointOn the way up I passed two guys on ATVs heading down the mountain, and each one had a dog on the front of his ATV. I waved and exchanged big smiles with each of them as we passed. After a lot more climbing, I reached Bruin Point. It was about 6:40 PM and it was already very cold on top. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and I was wishing I’d brought pants and a jacket. Despite the cold, I did a little bit of exploring on the top of the mountain. About half a mile northeast of Bruin Point I checked out a spot that, in Google Earth, looked like a good place to camp. It was indeed a nice spot, flat and grassy, with some trees for shade. I’m planning an overnight ATV trip for later in the summer, riding directly from Price and doing the Nine Mile Canyon > Cottonwood Canyon > Dry Canyon loop. Now I know where I can camp on that trip. I also traveled about three-quarters of a mile down the Dry Canyon road to check for any other potential camp spots, but it was too heavily-wooded and steep for camping. It was also cold there, being shaded by the tunnel of pine trees along the road.
Bighorn sheep at SunnysideFrom my turnaround spot, I headed back the way I’d come without making any more stops. As I descended from Bruin Point, I was surprised by how quickly it warmed up with the drop in elevation. It was about 7:45 when I got back to the truck. On my way back through Sunnyside, I saw the bighorn sheep that often gather there to feed. It was my first time seeing them, and I stayed there for a while taking photos and video of them. It was a good end to a good day. I’m already making plans to head back to that area to see all the things I didn’t have time for on this trip.

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