Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kelton, Utah October 16, 2011

Interesting headstone

Leaving Terrace, Utah, drivers pass by a number of small ghost town sites but nothing is left at any of them. The desert scenery and crumbling bridges on the old rail bed make for an interesting trip. One of the highlights before Golden Spike is the town of Kelton, Utah. There is nothing left of the town but foundations and a cemetery. The cemetery has a number of interesting headstones and is worth a look.

History: The town of Kelton, Utah, sprang up as a result of the building of the Central Pacific through Utah. It would be the center of freight and stage coach lines running into Idaho and Oregon. In its heyday the town would have a post office, hotel, saloons and stores. A pipe from the neighboring mountains brought water to steam locomotives.

The town's decline began with the building of the Lucin cutoff across the Salt Lake. As a result, many workers and residents moved away. Until 1942 Kelton would be an important hub for local shipping. At the beginning of World War II the rails were removed to aid in the war effort.(Information from Utah Ghost Towns byStephen Carr).

Desert scenery with grade in middle of photo

Some of the original pioneers of the west

Headstone that you can barely read

Terrace, Utah Historic Transcontinental Railroad October 16, 2011

Twenty-five miles of driving on the Central Pacific grade took me to the ghost town of Terrace, Utah. There are no intact buildings left in the town. If a visitor looks closely one can see foundations and imprints of buildings in the area. What is left is a historic cemetery which only recently became vandalized; however, visitors can still see some interesting headstones RESPECT America's history. You are not a patriot if you do not.

History: Terrace, Utah, was an important division point on the Central Pacific. It had a yard, roundhouse and repair shops for freight cars and locomotives. At its height 1,000 people lived in Terrace. The town was noted for being one of the only Chinese American communities in the west. The Chinese lived in shacks in the western part of town segregated from their white counterparts.

The town was noted for following strict rules of decorum. First, community leaders taxed citizens to maintain a public library and bathrooms. Second, the Sabbath was respected by towns people. Third, rules in the town kept public drunkenness to a minimum (Information from Utah Ghost Towns by Stephen Carr).

Terrace declined for a number of reasons. It was a railroad town, so when the Central Pacific moved its railroad shops to Montello many towns folk left as well. In 1900 a fire destroyed important buildings in town sealing the city's fate.

Interesting cross


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Historic Central Pacific Railbed October 16, 2011

Directions: From West Wendover take I-80 west over Silver Zone Pass. Take Exit 378 (NV-233) toward Montello, Nevada. Approximately 34 miles later Nevada 233 becomes Utah 30 on the border. Six miles later turn right onto Grouse Creek Road. Follow road toward the ghost town of Lucin until you cross the historic Central Pacific grade. If you drive the grade be sure to have a four wheel drive car with adequate clearance. THIS IS REMOTE DESERT COUNTRY. Have a full tank of gas, food and three or four gallons of water. It is 90 miles of dirt road driving to Golden Spike National Monument. Respect our past and do not vandalize old buildings or cemeteries. Enjoy the history of this area. This is truly the route that built and colonized the west.

History: The original Transcontinental Railroad was completed in May of 1869 with the driving of the golden spike at Promontory Point which linked the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. This line was the primary mainline for the Overland Route until 1904 when the Lucin Cutoff was completed across the Great Salt Lake cutting distance and grades. Local passenger traffic used the line until it was abandoned in 1942. Towns that sprang up along the tracks included Rozel, Kosomel, Monument, Kelton, Ombey and Terrace. The ghost towns of Kelton and Terrace will be the subject of following posts because of their interesting graveyards. (Information from

Old bridge on the Central Pacific

Abandoned trestle on route

Looking east down the abandoned Central Pacific grade

Abandoned bridge with desert surroundings

Cool trestle

Informative sign for the town of Bovine. Nothing is left.

The route that built America. The original Transcontinental

Plaque at Golden Spike

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thomas Canyon Ruby Mountains Nevada October 2, 2011

Fall color in the upper part of the canyon

Directions: Thomas Canyon is approximately seven miles up Lamoille Canyon outside of Spring Creek, Nevada. The trail starts from behind the Thomas Canyon Campground. The trail into Thomas Canyon is one of the overlooked hikes in the Ruby Mountains. This is a mistake because the views of the canyon are stunning, three waterfalls are viewable from the trail and the fall color of the Aspen is vibrant.

Thomas Canyon is a 4.5 mile out back, moderately strenuous hike. The main trail is well built, even though, travelers have made unincorporated trails to view waterfalls in the canyon. I lost the trail but managed to find it after forty minutes. The trail ends in the upper part of the canyon but more adventurous travelers can go off trail and summit the surrounding mountains or ridges. Fauna of the Ruby's consists of Mule deer, Mountain goats, and the introduced Himilayan Snowcock.

Waterfall in the canyon

More fall color
Beautiful color
Clear stream water

Thomas Canyon

The view back toward Lamoille Canyon

Another waterfall in the canyon

Leppy Hills trail system West Wendover, Nevada September 29, 2011

Desert scenery of the Leppy Hills

Information: The Leppy Hills are located to the north of West Wendover, Nevada. The range has many off-road driving opportunities but this is the only area devoted solely to hiking. The area was built in partnership between the city of West Wendover and the BLM. It offers three possible loops. Loop A is one mile, Loop B is 3 miles and Loop C is five miles. This is a great area to go running or take a walk whether in Nevada or traveling on I-80.

Directions: In West Wendover, Nevada, take the main road north from the City Park and Information Center. Travel under the interstate and continue driving. At the second dirt road junction turn left. The dirt road is suitable to two-wheel vehicles.
The trail system