Old Spanish Trail, Utah

Page Type Page Type: Custom Object
Additional Information Object Type: Original passageway
Additional Information County: Emery (this piece)

Used by travelers for more than 200 years

Called Chimney Rock road by map finder database, there is a natural passage through the San Rafael Swell. The whole trail started in New Mexico and went basically toward California with a few choices along the way. Good guys, thieves, cattle drives and others used the trail for hundreds of years. Now fixed up by Emery county, your car can make it easily on this part. The trail goes east and west connecting both sides of the valley with Cedar Mountain (7665 feet) in the middle. Your cell phone surely gets signal from the many towers on the south side of the mountain. Chimney Rock is a beautiful orange sandstone monolith (6661 feet) near the southeast of Cedar Mountain. Old railroad grade (high clearance) heads off southeast starting about 13 miles westbound into the trail. They spent lots of money preparing for tracks but never put them in. Northbound at that intersection is another high clearance trail rarely traveled toward Flat Top mountain (7140 feet) also written as a trip report.

Getting there:

This part of the Old Spanish Trail starts at milemarker 283 on US highway 6 about 17 miles north of the quaint town of Green River. The massive Green River has a naturally better place to cross where the town is today. The trail included the river crossing for sure. The other end of the trail is near Castle Dale on highway 10. Allow about 40 miles and about 3 hours for this dirt road. This year had much more rain runoff than usual, but the county has worked to make the trail still go through. The whole trail continued through Salina Canyon (where I-70 is now) and on to California. The travel from New Mexico territory to California 150 years ago took many months.

Another passage east-west added recently by man:

Interstate 70 added another choice going east-west in the late 1960's. Carefully carved out by hand with men in baskets hanging from cranes to work, the cost was nearly $5 million dollars for only the six miles of highway created through solid red rocks west of Green River. Another, much better way to travel is always welcome. Notice that there are no billboards for more than 100 miles in any direction, leaving a more rural feel.