Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Utah Places: Fivemile Pass
BLM land is usually marginal as far as aesthetic value, but it is valuable for other intrinsics that are sometimes difficult to weight. The Pass area is one of those, unremarkable to the eye, but rich in history and culture.
BLM Info- has link to a good map.
The BLM has given Fivemile Pass over to ATV use, and it shows. Prior to the ATV craze, the area was covered with mining claims, and that still is very much in evidence too. Someday, the whole mess will be cleaned up. Right now it looks like a ten thousand acre monument to wanton indulgence.
Trails crisscross the area indiscriminately leading everywhere and nowhere. Some leads can get you into trouble, like the one that looks like a thrilling leap over a deep ravine, but opens into a vertical mine shaft. Long ways down.
The steepest grade I ever drove the 4Runner on is to the north. A long hill that leads up to the ridge overlooking the Mercur Canyon mine and operations center. Climb it if you have the traction. I just made it. No problem for ATVs.
There are some spectacular high vistas, for those willing to climb. Snow lingers late this high -- don´t be surprised to find deeper drifts on the north shadowy spots into July.
Mineral mining was the big attraction in the Oquirrh Mountains to the north. For more than a hundred years copper has been mined and smelted. Plenty of other metals, like gold and silver, are also in rich supply. Try your luck high grading some rocks, you might strike the mother lode!