From the Fremont Park-Castle Rock junction the trail continues south
along Forest Road 113 following Mill Creek. About 200 yards south of the
1-70 bridges across Mill Creek, the main Paiute ATV Trail is joined. Those
heading for Circleville and Marysvale continue straight while those heading
for Richfield turn right. The previous chapter describes the route to Richfield.
The road along Mill Creek is smooth and provides for fast travel so be
careful of other traffic. Here you can see fantastically eroded rock spires,
or hoodoos. These are the castles of Castle Rock. The vegetation along Mill
Creek provides cool shade in summer and a blaze of color in the fall. There
are numerous, scattered sites for camping along side the stream. The walls
of the canyon are composed of ash falls from the volcanoes that formed the
Tushar Mountains. The vegetation is predominantly ponderosa pine, Douglas
fir, cottonwood, and maples. After crossing Mill Creek, the trail begins
to climb toward fantastic views. Soon limber pine, subalpine fir; and mountain
mahogany are the predominant trees. The presence of an old spoil pile heralds
the approach to the old mining town of Kimberly.
At the turn of the century, Kimberly was a thriving mining town of several
thousand people. It was one of the larger towns in Piute County, and vied
for designation as county seat. Gold and silver were the attractions that
brought the miners. By the nineteen-thirties the gold had about played out
and the town was in decline. The second World War brought the end. Now,
all that remains of this raucous history are a few spoil piles and some
abandoned mines. When traveling in this area be careful and show respect
for others. Much of the land in this area is privately owned, respect it
as you would your own property. Also, abandoned mine shafts are very hazardous,
stay out of them!
Past Kimberly the trail continues through conifer and aspen forests.
Openings give views of Clear Creek Valley below. A good view point is at
Winkler Point, named in honor of a former Supervisor of the Fishlake National
Forest and Chief of the Division of Range and Wildlife in the Forest Service.
At the point there is a sweeping panorama from the Great Basin to the west,
past Clear Creek Valley below toward the Sevier Valley to the east. The
white cliffs to the northeast mark the southern edge of the Wasatch Plateau.
From Winkler Point to the junction with the west leg of the Marysvale Loop,
at Forest Road 123, the trail goes through a tunnel of aspen and conifer
on a good road.
After the junction with the Marysvale Loop, which is described in a following
chapter; the trail follows Forest Road 123 up the north side of the canyon
of Beaver Creek. This is an excellent road that is fun to drive. The scenery
is spectacular, but don't get so wrapped up in it that you forget to look
for other traffic. This canyon provides spectacular views of mountain meadows
in the bottom and mountain scenery across the canyon. The trail passes through
aspen, mountain mahogany, and conifer woodlands before reaching timberline.
Along the way the trail crosses an avalanche chute. The cut-off trees in
this chute, and the two across the canyon that form a backward "D", give
stark testimony to the raw power of these avalanches. Only small trees that
don't stick up into the moving snow are present.
There is a spectacular view down and across the canyon at about the point
where the trail breaks out above timber line. Diagonaling across the canyon
slope is the contact between light and dark colored rocks. This is the edge
of a 20 million-year-old caldera. When it was young it looked something
like Crater Lake in Oregon. Material spewed from the earth by the volcanoes
that formed the Tushars, leaving a void. The roof sank into the void like
a piston, forming a crater on the surface. Rocks slumping down the rim were
bleached by sulfuric steam escaping from below. Eons of erosion have removed
the crater shape, so that all that remains is the black and white band across
While looking across the canyon, note the scars from old mining roads
criss-crossing the slope. These scars last a long time in this harsh alpine
environment. They serve as reminders that travel in this area is restricted
to designated roads. Above timberline it is very tempting to ride to the
edge of the canyon since there are no trees in the way. However; this activity
only leads to damaged scenery and further travel restrictions. So if you
want to see that canyon over the ridge; walk, don't ride, to the nearest
Approaching the highest point on the trail at the pass above Bullion
Pasture between Mount Belknap and Delano Peak, the trail passes beneath
trees that have been shaped by the wind. This type of forest is called 'krumholtz"
or "elfenwood", the dwarf forest. These trees are beat mercilessly by winter
storm winds carrying ice crystals that cut like razors. Branches extend
from the trunks only on the downwind side, indicating that the predominant
wind is from the southwest.
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