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Thread: Expedition Utah Pony Express Trail

  1. #1

    Expedition Utah Pony Express Trail

    Last weekend Expedition Utah launched our Quarterly Trail Ride series with a trip out along the historic Pony Express Trail in central Utah.

    The day started cold at dark as everyone met at the turn off to Faust near the Five Mile Pass OHV Recreation area. After introductions and a quick drivers meeting we took off, first on the pavement through Rush Valley and finally hitting dirt near the old Faust Station.

    The Pony Express Trail over the years has been developed into a pretty well maintained country road. Regularly graded to allow access to the remote communities of Callao and Gold Hill, rarely do you have to put it in 4WD. It allows for some high speed travel, but it can get very washboardy in spots.

    The vast desert distances and straightness of the trail in some spots is quite striking.

    Our first stop after setting out was at the Simpson Springs station.

    This used to be a home station along the route due to the availability of fresh water nearby. There where two types of stations along the Pony Express route, Home and Transfer. Home stations are where riders stayed. They where generally large enough to house a few riders, had stables and a small staff. Transfer stations where generally small and just used for riders to swap horses. Usually only one person was at these stations to tend the horses. Stations of all kinds where generally positioned about eight miles apart.

    All of the former station sites along the trail are marked with the stone obelisks you see in the picture. These where erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1940's. The CCC also constructed the replica station seen at Simpson Springs.

    After Simpson Springs we blasted down the trail towards our next stop, Fish Springs. Fish Springs is a National Wildlife Refuge, and for good reason. Out here in the vast desert wasteland the spring fed ponds provide a watering hole for migrating birds. In the winter, its still a pretty desolate area, but if you make it out here in the spring or summer it is very green and lush. Its not hard to figure out why they established a station here.

    Looking out over the ponds. Great day for contrails.

    After Fish Springs our next stop were the ruins of the Boyd Station.

    This is one of the few stations in the western part of Utah where there are significant ruins to look at. Here we also discovered that Ryan in his 2000 Trooper had a bad tire. With some teamwork we got it swapped with his spare and he was back on his way.

    Since we were making such good time, after Boyd we detoured off the Pony Express towards the old Callao CCC camp. There isn't much left there but some depressions in the ground where building foundations used to be, but its a great spot to let the kids run around and make lunch.

    From the CCC camp we reconnected with the Pony Express again and made for Overland Canyon and the Round Ruin at its base.

    The Round station is aptly named and was built with defense at its core. The original station that was at Overland Canyon was a simple dugout that was attacked and burned by Indians, killing all that where there. So it was rebuilt round with gun ports all around.

    After the Round station we made our way up the twisty Overland Canyon road, through Gold Hill to pavement at the Idapah Road. Since we where still making great time a few of us decided to head to the Wendover Airfield Museum. Its a nice little museum with lots of artifacts to look over from the bases history training bomber crews, particularly the 509th Composite Group that dropped the atomic bombs. The best part is climbing to the top of the old observation tower.

    The trip to the airfield also whet everyone appetite for Expedition Utah's May Summit, which will be a full tour of the base.

    The trip out along the Pony Express Trail is always an entertaining one, and this time was no exception! A great group of people came out and shared a lot of knowledge about the trail and surrounding areas.

    The next Quarterly Trail Ride will be announced over on Expedition Utah shortly. Hope to see everyone on that one!

    What is Expedition Utah? Expedition Utah is a website and forum dedicated to vehicle assisted exploration of Utah's beautiful and varied backcountry. We strive to provide an online repository of information to help people plan their next adventures and a forum to let them discuss it with others who share their passion. Our Quarterly Trail Rides are designed to move that experience off the computer and into the real world by highlighting Utah's thousands and thousands of miles of scenic backroads.

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  3. #2
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    May 2007
    We're all here, because we ain't all there.
    nice write up, looks like a fun time.

  4. #3
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    Nice write up. I was out there on the 15th. The road up and over Lookout Pass is very "wash-boardy". Driving a 9000 pound dually over the road made for some great in-cab shaking!
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  5. #4
    Nice report. I thought it would be fun to come along, but couldn't make it happen. Maybe next time. I see that there was an 80 series in the group. I would have been in good company with my ride.

  6. #5
    I gotta get out there one of these days. Great report, thanks Expedition Utah!

  7. #6
    It was a great run! Look for our 2nd Quarter Ride. We'll be announcing it soon.

  8. #7
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    I'd be interested in tagging along your next ride. I'll be looking forward to your next ride annoucement! thanks
    ●Canyoneering 'Canyon Conditions' @
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    "He who walks on the edge, will eventually fall."

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