On Saturday, while Traci was reaching new heights of ridiculosity trying to sell scented wax at a “party” at our house (don’t ask–I try to not pay too much attention), I went for a 4-wheeler ride in the Book Cliffs. Since Jenni and Shantel were involved in this “party” (I use that term loosely, since it doesn’t jive with my idea of a party), Cortney drove them to Price, along with Cody, and pulled his trailer with two ATVs on it. Chris was already here, since he’d been staying at our place while he worked in Scofield, and his girlfriend Sylvia was here for the weekend as well, so between all of them and me and my kids, we had seven people on four ATVs for this trip. We left my house in Price at about 9:30 in the morning, headed for the old mine buildings in Horse Canyon near East Carbon where we unloaded the ATVs and began our ride.
The first part of the ride took us up Horse Canyon for a short distance, then the road began to climb up to the top of the Book Cliffs. We reached Lila Point and stopped to enjoy the view. It was a bit hazy, but we could see a fair amount of the San Rafael Swell from there. We continued farther and stopped for a geocache, and from that vantage point there was a great view of Mt. Elliott, which we’d ridden/hiked to in May. I had driven to that point in my truck last year, but the rest of the trip would be all new to me. The road after the geocache was set back away from the edge of the Book Cliffs, so the view wasn’t nearly as nice. There were several spur roads off the main road, most of which lead to old drill holes, but we didn’t have time to explore them.
We reached the divide between the Little Park area and Turtle Canyon, and the terrain changed a bit. It was less heavily-wooded, and more desert-like. It also got much hotter as we descended into Turtle Canyon heading toward Range Creek. There was also increasingly more bear crap on the road as we traveled east. When we reached Range Creek, we stopped along the side of the creek and ate lunch and goofed around a bit. After eating and resting a bit, we rode north a pretty short distance until we reached a gate across the road at the south end of the old Wilcox ranch, where there are a lot of Fremont Indian ruins and rock art.
We turned around and rode south, and followed the Range Creek road as far south as it goes. The road used to go all the way to the Green River, but the BLM closed it off as part of the Desolation Canyon wilderness study area many years ago. We splashed through the creek several times as the road crossed it, and eventually reached the heavily-barricaded end of the road. There wasn’t much to see there, so we turned around and started the long journey back to where the trucks were parked. Before getting back to Turtle Canyon, Cortney and I spotted some bighorn sheep, while Chris and Cody kept riding ahead. We stopped for a long time to photograph and observe the sheep. We were pretty close to them and we both got some great photos. The sheep seemed as interested in us as we were in them.
After catching up to the rest of our group, we all hauled ass back to the trucks. There were some very dark storm clouds rolling in, with lightning hitting the peaks to the east of the Book Cliffs. It looked awesome because the sun was still shining from the west, with dark clouds to the east. We made good time back to the mine buildings where the trucks were parked, and even had time to explore the buildings a bit before loading up and heading home. Just a few minutes after driving away from Horse Canyon, the rain poured down. We got lucky to have missed getting drenched. The ride was great, the views awesome, and I’ve now got a lot more places in that area that I want to explore.
GPS Tracklog and Waypoints (Google Earth .KMZ Format)
GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints (Google Maps)