The trail then descends into Kingston Canyon along a dry wash
that is also a utility right-of-way. This segment of the trail is
one of the roughest, and combined with some short, steep pitches
is moderately difficult. However the trail does cross Rocky Ford
Creek and the East Fork of the Sevier River on bridges before reaching
Utah Highway 62. The crossing of Highway 62 provides a potential
trail head for those wishing to ride the higher elevations of the
The trail follows Forest access Road 068 out of Kingston Canyon
and onto the south end of the Sevier Plateau. This is a good road
that allows fast travel, but it also is the main access to the south
end of the Sevier Plateau so there probably will be other traffic.
Caution is required. The trail passes through woodlands of pinyon
and juniper Rock outcrops are volcanic conglomerates deposited by
violent floods, which resulted from thunderstorms caused by the
eruptions of the volcanoes.
After about five miles of climbing, the trail enters the Fishlake
Forest on a sage flat. East of the trail is the rim of Forshea Mountain
where the rocks have been eroded into pinnacles and spires. To the
west are views of the Tushars, third highest mountain range in Utah.
Northward is the town of Marysvale in its valley. Near the turn
of the century this town was sustained by gold and silver mining
in the Tushars. In the forties, fifties, and sixties uranium mining
in the hills north and east of the town was the primary employment.
From about the head of Pole Canyon the trail crosses the Sevier
Plateau, a rolling upland. Views to the west are of the Tushars
while those to the east are of Grass Valley, Parker Mountain, the
Aquarius Plateau, Thousand Lake Mountain, and Boulder Mountain.
The trail follows a dirt road, Forest Road 068, that permits easy
travel, except for a few bumps and ruts. The south end of the plateau
is covered with sage that gives way to aspen and spruce fir stands
to the north. In the 1950s patches of sage were killed by chemical
spraying and the area was replanted with grasses. In the 1980s fire
was used to remove the sage and restore the grasses. Fire was also
used in some stands of subalpine fir to rejuvenate the aspen that
was being crowded out. Aspen will sprout from the roots after a
fire, but the fir is killed. Aspen shoots provide browse for wildlife;
later the trees provide cover.
Near the head of Langdon Creek the trail turns west on to Forest
Road 070. At the head of Dry Creek, the main trail meets the east
leg of the Marysvale Loop. This loop is described in a following
chapter. The area around Dry Creek Guard Station provides several
areas for camping. The guard station was once heavily used by rangers
patrolling the mountain. The trail then continues on a good road
which provides easy travel through grassy meadows and through aspen
and conifer stands until it winds past Manning Meadow Reservoir.
On a hot summer's day this reservoir looks very inviting for a swim
to cool off. But at this elevation, close to 10,000 feet, the water
never is really warm enough for swimming.
The trail soon enters the Box Creek drainage on Forest Road 078.
At Lower Box Creek Reservoir the trail comes out onto sage flats
and starts down the mountain. Lower Box Creek Reservoir is marked
by a prominent yellow clay pit. Material from this pit is transported
to the Salt Lake City area and used in making refractory, or heat
resistant bricks. Before starting down the mountain, you might find
it worthwhile to stop and fish the Box Creek Reservoirs.
North of Box Creek Reservoirs the trail continues across sage
flats with scattered stands of aspen. Mountain meadows, surrounded
by spruce, fir and aspen forests, provide forage for elk and deer
At dusk or dawn riders often can see these magnificent animals grazing
in the meadows or ambling across openings. There are views of the
mountains to the east; they are Boobe Hole Mountain, Fish Lake Hightop,
and Mytoge Mountain.
From the junction of Forest Roads 068 and 076 the main trail
follows 076 to the east. However it is only about a two-mile side
trip northwesterly on 068 to the Koosharem Guard Station. This is
the oldest Forest Service guard station in Utah. It was built in
1911, four years after the Forest Reserve, predecessor to the National
Forest, was proclaimed. It is now being restored and will serve
as an interpretive site to show what things were like when horses
were the main means of travel in the western mountains.
Milos Kitchen, located just below a low cliff, is an excellent
place for camping. Here the trail leaves the road to follow an old
horse trail down the side of the mountain, before returning to the
main road and on into Koosharem. While fun and easy to ride, roads
and trails on this side of the Sevier Plateau are extremely slippery
when wet. When dry they can provide fast going.
continued next page
Thursday, December 09, 2010