After last week’s ride to the southern end of Range Creek, this week I wanted to check out the road to the northern end of Range Creek. As soon as I got off work yesterday, I hopped in the truck (the 4-wheeler was already loaded up) and left town. I staged at the same place as last weekend, except I took the left fork in the road in Horse Canyon. After the fork, the steep mountain road road began climbing above the South Fork of Horse Canyon. There were a lot of switchbacks in the road, but overall it was in good shape and passable by a 2WD high-clearance vehicle in good weather. At one of the hairpin turns in the switchbacks, the mountainside dropped off steeply toward Horse Canyon, and I stopped to enjoy the great view and placed a geocache while I was there. Shortly after that I reached the divide between Horse Canyon and Little Horse Canyon.
The vegetation was thicker and more lush on the Little Horse Canyon side of the mountain. There were a lot more aspen and other deciduous trees, including some plant that smelled wonderful (which I never was able to identify). The divide between the two canyons sits at 8,500′ in elevation, and as I descended 1,700′ to Range Creek, I could feel the temperature rise. Little Horse Canyon was very interesting and begs for further exploration. Parts of it reminded me of the San Rafael Swell, with large sandstone cliffs and ledges, except it was more heavily-forested. I reached Range Creek and was surprised that nobody was there. There’s an officer that patrols the area daily, and I really expected to run into him, but I didn’t see a soul the entire time I was there. To proceed any farther into Range Creek requires a permit, so I just checked out the camping area outside of the fenced area, took a few photos, then reversed course and rode back toward the truck. On the way I ran over a gopher snake, but apparently it was unharmed because it slithered off after sitting there stunned for a minute. I’d been hoping to see more wildlife, such as deer or bighorn sheep, but the snake was the most interesting thing I saw.
After reaching the truck and loading and securing the ATV, I drove to Columbia in the hopes of seeing the old railroad bridge in the canyon east of town. Instead, I ran into a gate across the road with a “No Trespassing” sign. At least I got to have the grand tour of Columbia. 😀 I drove to Sunnyside after that to hopefully see some bighorn sheep, but I got skunked there as well. It was already after sunset, so the sheep had probably moved on. I’ll have to go back to Range Creek another day with a permit in hand so I can explore the ruins and rock art in the area.
GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints (Google Earth .KMZ Format)
GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints (Google Maps)