West of Gunlock, Utah is a huge area of desert empty of paved roads for about 3,600 square miles. But there are a ridiculous number of dirt roads twisting across that vast expanse. Along those roads are quite a few historical areas of interest. I’ve made at least half a dozen trips out there and posted about them already; places like the ghost town of Carp, the remote Bullhead Valley, Pine Park, Beaver Dam State Park and even Welcome Springs. With so many trips in the area under my belt I felt comfortable enough to make a traverse of the entire region and link together a number of places i still had yet to see.
My first stop was Delamar Dry Lake so I started way over by Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge along the Great Basin Highway in Nevada and took a power line road to the lake. The lake has a very notable history. In 1962 Neil Armstrong damaged an F-104 Starfighter attempting a test landing on the lakebed. Most recently, in 2015 the lake earned a Guiness World Record for the largest tire track message ever created as a stunt by Hyundai to send an “I love you” to the International Space Station from the daughter of one of the astronauts on board. It’s a cool video!
From the lake I took an obscure road up to Delamar Mine. Delamar was the biggest mine in Nevada in the late 1800’s and had a population of 3,000 people, a newspaper, post office and even an opera house. Now there is just garbage and crumbling walls. There are miles of mine passages beneath the mountain. I spent a couple of hours in Delamar and exploring the hillside full of mines above the town. It really is a very large site. I ran out of time well before I could see all of it.
There is a tremendous amount of garbage where the residential houses were. Many of the cans were for fish, and I wonder if they may have contained herring that was fished to extinction during that time period.
From Delamar I took a road that became to narrow for my 4Runner to another road that apparently is called North Fork Cedar Wash. I worked my way southeast over the mountains to make a brief stop at Elgin Schoolhouse, and then continued on up Pennsylvania Canyon Road. From there I eventually made it up to the summit of Mt. Ella in the Clover Mountains. There’s not much info on the internet about Mt. Ella but it has spectacular views in every direction. At that point it was getting late and I had to do the longest segment, which was driving from there to Motoqua and eventually Ivins. It was a great day and I think about 125 miles of dirt.
There is a pretty cool looking area of large boudlers and scalloped ledges above Rainbow Canyon. The picture on the left you can see the canyon cutting across the scene and on the far right near the rim is an area of rocks. The right image is very zoomed in with a telephoto. To me it looks like it’s worth checking out but I haven’t looked into how to get there.