Sunday, June 23, 2019

Polar Mesa

Gopher Flats
June 16, 2019
Moab, UT

Much to my delight, Polar Mesa was a scheduled club (Moab Friends For Wheelin') run.  And even more to my delight, Sunday dawned with beautiful blue skies and whimsical clouds.  We met at the cinema along with Dee, Chris and Scott, and Joe and Jenny.  A nice group of folks to share a Sunday drive with.  

We headed out Sand Flats Rd. 

It is a very pretty drive that goes all the way to the LaSal Mountains.  Our first stop was at the rim overlook at the Porcupine Rim campground about 15 miles from downtown...just inside the Manti-LaSal National Forest.  It's a breathtaking view of the hills and mesas of Castle Valley.  

It's not a shabby look at the LaSals either !  Just look at all that green !

We climbed higher and higher on Sand Flats for several more miles.

I love the mountain meadows...

When we reached LaSal Loop Road, we made a left turn and followed the winding road until it ended at Castle Valley Road.  There we turned right.  Not far the pavement turns to dirt.  That's where we stopped to have lunch. We had to see the dinasaur tracks, more views, and the wildflowers.
Lunch with a view!

Dinosaur track with a view.  (Thanks to Jenny for sharing her photo.)  

Wildflowers with a view!

We continued on the dirt road.  Eventually the dirt turns to rocks as we made the climb up to the mesa on a series of switchbacks.

It's a short hike to see the mining remnants.  Scott, Dee and Chris lead the way.

Because of its remote location, no claims were staked here until around 1914 (Other claims in the area were as early as the 1880s.) in response for a demand in radium.  Ore was hand sorted at the site, sacked in cement bags and sent by mule to a 
subcamp 5 miles southeast of the Dewey Bridge (on Hwy 128) then by wagon to Cisco.   

 By this time, the day was well into mid afternoon.  The decision was made to return to Moab via Thompson Canyon and Onion Creek OHV trails.  We have driven both these trails several times.  
Thompson Canyon Trail

 The drive down Onion Creek was my favorite part of the day's route.  The skies turned dark, the winds picked up, and we even had a few rain drops.  It was gorgeous !

The end of the trail (or the beginning if you are going up) winds its way through Fischer Canyon and ends at Hwy 128.
From there, we made good time along Hwy 128.   The Colorado River was at full capacity !  In fact, we were under a flood watch, but that has since been lifted.

It was a fun day with fun friends.  And a great escape from the summer temps.  Speaking of that, we had a cool down this week-end...highs in the low 70s !  Soooo nice.

Well, I'll close for now.  Until next time,
(Thanks to Dee for this photo)


Up next, some Wile E fun!


  1. What a gorgeous day! Thanks for taking me there!

  2. The back lit clouds really add a depth to your day. Has the Dewy Bridge been restored?

  3. The views down Castle Valley are so gorgeous. We are really enjoying all the green mountains in the west this year. The La Sal's are beautiful. What a fun day! Love the final photo!!

  4. Oh my! Those long views are incredible!! I was thinking I'd love this drive until that last pic :-))))