Beaver Dam Wilderness: Welcome Springs

Categories: Desert, Hiking, Mojave, Mountains, Utah

The Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area  covers a transition zone between the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin. It lies in the very southwest corner of Utah, which also gives it the distinction of containing the lowest point in Utah. There aren’t any developed facilities but the area has a lot to offer, including a large network of dirt roads, ruins, old mines and ranchland. For me, it’s a fun place to wander around in winter and some of the high altitude areas can provide evening respite during the summer heat of St. George. The low parts at that time merely provide death.

The Beaver Dam Wilderness. Lots of neat little places to go.

The windy road to Welcome Springs.

Maree checks out a Barrel Cactus between a tall yucca and a patch of Mormon Tea.

Originally we had walked up a long slope of rough limestone. I had hoped to get to the distant peak on the right, beneath the cloud. It had all looked like one continuous walk from below but at this point we saw there was a deep canyon in front of us and at least one more up ahead.

Instead of trying for the peak we headed back down.

On one trip wandering around the western slopes of the conservation area I decided late in the day to check out a road that went to a place named “Welcome Springs”. The road wasn’t bad at all and ended after only a few miles at a scenic open camp area surrounded by numerous sub peaks and canyons on the south side of West Mountain Peak. It was nice enough I decided to come back a few weeks later with Maree and Kona, and have a look around some of the canyons and cliffs.

There is indeed a spring at Welcome Springs, but it’s tapped and when we were there it looked dried out. There is also an old corral and a concrete “pool” full of algae. As little visited and empty as it is, Welcome Springs is known internationally to the rock climbing community as a good place to go.

Maree checks out a cave. The Beaver Dam Mountains are full of these. Often the ceiling is coated in a black tar like substance that I don’t think is necessarily from fires. I call them sucker holes because they are never, in my experience so far, anything more than a single chamber or two.

This canyon was inviting and had more trees than others so we decided to see where it led us.

A wash out from a flood.

Another sucker hole. I decided not to look into this one. It’s probably 400 miles long.

On the way back we had a great view of the Mormon Mountains.

The conservation area includes Joshua Tree National Natural Landmark. This is the most “significant” stand of Joshua Trees in the United States, and the only one in Utah.

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