West Mountain Peak

An Island in the Sky above the Mojave Desert

Categories: Road Trips, Utah

The Beaver Dam Mountains loom over Ivins to the west. During the summer heat it can be fun to escape by getting high up into the mountains. One of them is covered in transmission towers and a few buildings, and is called West Mountain Peak. It’s the highest of the Beaver Dam Mountains at 7,680 feet above sea level.

One hot day in June we decided to see if we could drive up there. The drive went well until Hell Hole Pass. Yep, another Hell Hole. This pass is so inconspicuous I can’t possibly imagine how it got it’s name. From the pass it’s two more miles to the top of the mountain but, in the last 3/4 of a mile the road climbs 900 feet, in some areas much more steeply than others. Where the grade increases tremendously football sized gravel loosely covers exposed bedrock steps. My street tires were not doing well enough and the truck was losing traction, bouncing back and forth and threatening to slide back. So I took a hint and backed back down to a good place to park. This was one of a couple of experiences that motivated me to get some better wheels and tires later on.

Between the eastern  and western ranges of the Beaver Dams is a hidden wilderness.

Looking up at the summit you can see a couple of the towers.

The road is steep with sharp switchbacks.

Maree and Kona walk along the switchback below me. Steep.

Usually there is no protection but sometimes there is a crude guardrail fashioned out of the remains of previous drivers.

Near the top, the second steepest part of the road climbs on top of the final limestone cap.

Kona likes to roll boulders onto unsuspecting lowlifes farther down the mountain.

The thin bedded limestone layers cap the very top of the summit.

The road travels past high voltage dishes and antennae that i did not care to dally around and continues across the entire top of the mountain.

I found the shack at the end of the world!

I don’t know what was in the shack or why they built it hanging off the side of the mountain. It looked like if i wanted to, I could climb down the mountainside and make my way over the the other peak in the background.

To the West the Mormon Mountains rise as a broad dome in the distance.

Looking North. Square Top Mountain is right of center and reddish while the mountains on the far left are, I think, all the way over near Pioche.

Having to walk the last bit was actually a nice way to enjoy the scenery. That high on the mountain the road is cut into some impressive limestone cliffs covered by a pine forest. The top of the mountain is broad and narrow, with spectacular views in every direction. It’s definitely a well chosen site for relaying radio waves.

Back in the car we decided to take a less used road down the back side of the mountain to a place called Indian Springs. This road turned out to be more of a 4×4 road, sometimes heading straight down the stream bed. Like most of the springs around here it had been tapped and piped into water tanks. We took a break from the rough ride down the mountain and walked around a bit before heading back to Old Hwy 91 via the Western slopes of the Beaver Dams.

To the South the Beaver Dam Mountain Range stretches off into the Virgin Mountains and ring a basin where the towns of Littlefield and Beaver lie.

It took about an hour to get down from the top into the open Mojave Desert.

This water tank is an oasis and is all that is left of Indian Springs.

Looking up at the top of West Mountain from Indian Springs.

A nearby watering trough. These are a common site.

I always wondered how they kept full and was amused when i got down in there that it was as simple as a toilet tank apparatus.

We headed back south around the base of the mountain. There’s an extensive network of roads in the empty lands between Utah and Nevada.

Maree poses by some round and cracked boulders.

One of the last things we went buy was this triangular overhang. It looked like, from a certain angle, it might be an arch, so I decided to come back another day and check it out.

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