Arizona Strip – Off-Road Trip Report by the St. George Jeepers

St. George Jeepers Trail Report – March 8, 2016

Arizona Strip – Mustang Spring, Mud Mountain, Jacobs Well

Due to the great interest in getting out into the wildlands and seeing some of the outstanding scenery in this region, the Jeepers Group has been scheduling multiple Tuesday outings. On this day Mike Hess led a trip to the Birthing Cave and Lone Pine Arch west of Gunlock, Utah. Kevin Keller led a trip to Motoqua, Utah, to Indian Springs Canyon to Hell Hole Pass and to West Mountain Communication Towers.

This trip report will cover a trip led by Gus Peterson with 8 vehicles that traveled from the Utah/Arizona state line down into the Arizona Strip. This journey ran from BLM 101 to Mustang Spring to IDE Valley Spring to Mud Spring/Mud Mountain to Jacobs Well to a stone cabin to Cottonwood Canyon to Black Rock Mountain and back to the Black Rock exit on I-15.

Below, airing down at the Arizona state line.

Length of yellow GPS track was about 85 miles.

At an intersection off Rt. 5, also known as the main road or River Road extension.

A vista along the trail

Time for pit stop and to enjoy the scenery. A covey of Gambel quail was calling in the valley below.

Back on the trail

Major intersection. The group was several miles out in the boonies at this point.

Over the years a lot of work has gone into developing livestock and wildlife watering facilities in the southwest deserts. The below photo shows an air valve on a buried PVC plastic pipeline. The air valve lets air out of the line when it is being filled and lets air in when the line is being drained so it doesn’t collapse due to the vacuum . The wheels are probably just for decoration.

A red tail hawk soars overhead

Our first destination, the Jacobs Well ranch site, a desert oasis.

These interesting facilities are located on BLM land.

A pond with a long defunct windmill that was probably the original water pumping equipment.

Notice the old oil well style water pump. It likely had an one cylinder gas engine to run it. The heavy counterweight on the close end would come down to lift the water and the engine would then lift it back up to complete the cycle.

Remnants of what looks like the original home site. It had a window to the left side of the door and a chimney so probably wasn’t a root cellar, at least in the beginning.

Present day facilities. Notice the stone walkways to the trailer and cabin. The cowboy probably didn’t want to get his boots muddy before he went back to bed after visiting the outhouse.

Another pond on the site.

The area is decorated with several pieces of antique machinery, mostly road building and maintaining equipment. Here Gus Peterson, left, Rick Astley and Don Griffiths check it out.

Below is an old plow and dozer blade. They evidently did some farming in the area, perhaps a garden.

There is an elaborate system of canals in the area designed to capture water and divert to holding ponds, this one now dry.

Back on the trail and on to see some more interesting geology.

Another stock watering project

Driving up Cottonwood Canyon.

Looking back down Cottonwood Canyon.

Ruins of an old stone cabin

If only these walls could talk, the stories they could tell. Made up stories abound, but little seems to be generally known about its history. Most likely it was a rancher’s cabin.

Pam Astley explores and photographs the cabin. The old stone walls were retrofitted with a veneer of concrete on the inside. A modern truss style rafters roof with sheet metal was also added.

Intersection of trail toward Elbow Canyon near Mesquite in Nevada and the trail that we took towards Black Rock Mountain.

Coming down off Black Rock Mountain.

A feature of this area that is often commented upon is how short a travel distance one has to drive to be in completely different ecologic and geologic zones.

View looking north toward the red cliffs of Kayenta and Snow Canyon (white cliffs) in Ivins and Pine Valley Mountain in the distance.

Another remarkable change in geologic scenery.

Canyons just begging to be explored.

Pine Valley Mountain, center, and the red cliffs of the BLM Sand Mountain Off Highway Recreation Area to the right. Sand Mountain draws off highway vehicles to the area from all over the United States and Canada. They come to enjoy the red sand dunes and sandstone slick rock, not to forget the amazing views of Pine Valley Mountain and Sand Hollow State Park and Reservoir.

Another view of Sand Mountain with Zion National Park in the distance. A couple more miles down the trail was tire air-up and head down the highway for home. Another great day on the trail.

Submitted by Bud Sanders

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