The Poison Strip/Yellow Cat uranium mining area is a unique place to get
a view into the past. Uranium mining began here in the 1940's, but really took off in the mid-1950's. By the early 1960's, however, the demand dwindled as the market had been over supplied. Although a relatively brief time in the history of the area, Uranium mining has left a lasting impression, and it is fascinating to visit the area and see what remains.
Beware, entering any mine extremely dangerous! Do not enter any of the mines. All that I visited had been sealed, but other open ones may still dot the area.
To reach the Lost Spring area, you will need to travel east on I-70 (~ 30 miles north of Moab). Go east on I-70 from Crescent Junction 11 miles to exit 193. The exit is signed Yellow Cat Exit.
Reset your odometer at the cattle guard, and head south on the good dirt road. It heads in a remarkably straight line toward the La Sal mountains. Follow it, staying on the main road. Major junctions and landmarks are as follows:
- 6.1 miles - Y - Stay Left
- 6.6 miles - Cross a cattle guard
- 7.7 miles - Another Y, stay left again
- 8.2 miles - An old wooden two story mining ruin on the left. This is the stopping point.
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Old Bus at Poison Strip
From the wooden structure, wander the roads south. An old bus is a good land mark to head for. Look for piles of dirt in the area, as they usually signify mines. The mines themselves are dug into the sandstone layer just below your feet. It is amazing how many openings, and how close together they are in the area. As is evident by signs at a few of the mines, the claims are still being kept current in case mining in the area ever becomes profitable again.
The area west of the wooded structure, where the road turns north by the pond you passed on the way in, also has an interesting old car and several ruins to visit.
No map needed.