Snake Valley/Deep Creek Mtns in Utah - trip report

re_guderian

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I don't know why, but I have this fascination with the utter vastness and emptiness of the West Desert in Utah/Nevada. So this weekend I went up to explore it some more, putting just under 300 miles of dirt roads/trails on the Cruiser. I'd been there over 20 years ago when I lived in Utah (and needed any and every excuse to escape the total insanity of Provo...). Not suprisingly, not much has changed in the intervening decades. I must say that the 100 series is the perfect rig for this type of exploring, and way better than my old '85 Nissan 4x4 truck I used to have.

I started out late on Saturday battling a cold, and stopped for the night in Milford, UT. Massive rains between Page and Hurricane had me worried about road conditions as every wash was running. Fortunately, the further west I went, the drier it got.

I did a quick tour through Great Basin National Park. I have passed the signs for it all the time on I-15, and had never been to visit. Very cool. Started too late in the day to climb Wheeler Peak, but hit the Bristlecone trail. Worth the visit if you're "in the neighborhood" :)

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After that, I headed north from Highway 6/50, less than a mile from the UT/NV border. Last place for gas until either Wendover, Delta, or Vernon, depending on which direction you want to exit the area. This is the beginning of the dirt road, though in all fairness, the main roads out there are county maintained, and in all honesty better than a lot of the paved roads in UT.

About 30 miles north, is Gandy Warm springs. Great place to wash the sweat off after hiking in GBNP. Deserted, and 81 degrees. Nice.

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re_guderian

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It's just hard to comprehend the vastness and emptiness of the whole Snake Valley area. "Towns" on the map are typically a handful of houses/ranches, some of which are still inhabited. Truly one of the last empty areas in the lower 48.


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The Deep Creek range forms the backdrop for the "towns" of Trout Creek, Partoun, and Callao. The Deep Creeks have some peaks over 12,000', and no maintained, developed trails. The canyons up into the range offer some great exploring and camping opportunities, with spectacular views of the basin/range landscape. Hard to capture it in pictures.


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re_guderian

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I explored Granite Creek Canyon and Indian Farm Canyon in the Deep Creek's. Lot's of cool areas there.

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I met up with the Pony Express Trail at Callao, and went around the Deep Creek range to the town of Ibapah. No gas available there.
The Pony Express Trail here is part of the Lincoln Highway.

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re_guderian

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I went back east at Callao on the Pony Express trail, through Fish Springs NWR, billed as the most remote NWR in the lower 48.

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Looking back west at the Deep Creek range, with Callao in the trees

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Fish Spring NWR

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re_guderian

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Some "fixer-uppers" in Callao

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I have no idea...

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A rebuilt Pony Express station at Simpson Springs.

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Once you get in the area, gas is only available at the stateline station on Hgwy 6/50 on the south, Wendover to the north, Vernon to the east, and Delta to the SE. All are approx 70-90 miles from Callao. Plan accordingly...
 

re_guderian

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Not a lot of technical 4 wheeling, just a ton of dirt roads, and a lot of solitude. I camped across the road from the CCC campground south of Callao and up towards Indian Farm Canyon. The view was better, and there were no crowds. Seriously, if you want to get away from "it all" (or hide a body or two), this is the area...
 

murf

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Great trip report and pictures Rob. Not famaliar with the area but looks interesting :cool:

Thanks for sharing!
 

Saddletramp

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Great pictures and write up Rob. Seeing this makes all of us imagine the expedition needs for our Cruisers. I especially liked the lone chair and campfire shot.
 

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Very cool! Thanks for the write up. I like the water coming out of the log and the rock face! The yellow structures are from the rail road.
 

splitshot

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The wife said that Calleo sign is awesome...

Wouldn't it be nice to spend a month or two cruising Nevada and Utah at that latitude. My favorite part of earth. Thanks for sharing Rob.:cheers:
 
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Awesome trip. I want to go back to Utah already. Let me know if you want company next time you go.

I would be worried traveling solo in that remote of an area. What do you do to ensure you make it out if something happens? Would like to hear other people's contingency plans so I can better plan myself.
 

re_guderian

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...I would be worried traveling solo in that remote of an area. What do you do to ensure you make it out if something happens? Would like to hear other people's contingency plans so I can better plan myself.
Well, the most prudent thing to do would be to go with another vehicle, but... I have a Li-ion jump starter, HAM radio, left my travel plans with my daughter, had 4 extra gallons of gas in a couple of rotopaxes, tire plug kit, air compressor, lots of food, 10 gallons of water, basic recovery gear (come along, shovel, straps), tools, pistol, and some good boots, backpack, and sun hat. Seriously, you could NEVER be prepared for everything that could happen. I'm driving a 15+ year-old rig with almost 230K miles on it. However, the ignition has been replaced (known weak point), and maintenance is up to date. What more can you do? I'm a pretty resourceful guy, but short of bringing another car along, I just pack it all up and go. Honestly though, I felt more comfortable (reliability-wise) in my LC than any of the other 7 cars I saw out there... :lol:
 

re_guderian

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just to add, in that area the main roads, although gravel, are county maintained roads. It may take a while to round up a phone, and get and tow, and it might not be cheap, but the challenge there is simply distance, not rugged obstacles, at least on the route I took. :meh:
 
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