Hunt Ranch |

Southern Swell

Roadside Attraction Hunt Ranch - Southern Swell Roadside Attraction Hunt Ranch

Southern Swell

Overview

RATING: Roadside Attraction
LENGTH: 1+ hours
MAPS: HUNT DRAW, UT

Thu

A slight chance of rain showers after noon. Mostly sunny. High near 72, with temperatures falling to around 68 in the afternoon. South southeast wind 3 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

72 | 50

Fri

A chance of rain before noon, then rain and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 66. West southwest wind 6 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

66 | 48

Sat

Rain showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 61. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

61 | 43

Sun

Sunny, with a high near 69.

69 | 41

Mon

Sunny, with a high near 76.

76 | 43

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Any when roads are dry, hot in the summer
WATER: None, bring all you need.

Thu

A slight chance of rain showers after noon. Mostly sunny. High near 72, with temperatures falling to around 68 in the afternoon. South southeast wind 3 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

72 | 50

Fri

A chance of rain before noon, then rain and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 66. West southwest wind 6 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

66 | 48

Sat

Rain showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 61. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

61 | 43

Sun

Sunny, with a high near 69.

69 | 41

Mon

Sunny, with a high near 76.

76 | 43

View Full Weather Details
The two story house with the southern swell in the distance.

The two story house with the southern swell in the distance.

Hunt Ranch is one of the most isolated and desolate ranches I have seen in the desert. The ranch is located in a moonscape along the Muddy Creek at the southern edge of the San Rafael Swell. Visiting it is a fascinating look back into the history and harshness of the area. The ranch is interesting, but I found the drive out across the colorful moonscape and views of the Southern San Rafael Reef to be a highlight of a visit to the old ranch.

History: The Hunt Ranch is also known as the Hondo Ranch or the Muddy Creek Ranch. The ranch was started in 1918 by Charley Hunt who was living in Cainville. At the time, a coal mine near Factory Butte on the south side of Muddy Creek provided a road to get close to the ranch. Charley extended the road to the Muddy Creek, and to where the ranch site now sits.

Charley tended to the ranch for 12 years, building the two-story house that remains as well as other structures including a cabin and chicken coop. He raised cows, chickens, sheep, and grew hay and corn.

After 10 or so years, Charley gave up on the ranch and his sons Floyd and Rulon took it over. They ran the place briefly before Floyd's wife refused to stay. The ranch was used by a couple of others after the Hunts for grazing, but no one lived there again.
Access Note: Reaching the ranch requires a high clearance vehicle. There are a few rough, rocky spots. If you don't have a 4-wheel drive, this would be an excellent mountain bike ride in cooler seasons. You can also reach the ranch from the south via the Factory Butte road. Be warned if coming from Factory Butte, however, that fording the river in a vehicle is tricky and many people have ended up deeply stuck. All-in-all, I recommend coming in from the described route here, since it is exceptionally scenic and avoids the river crossing.
Camping Note: There are many magnificent primitive camping sites along the road with outstanding views of the San Rafael Reef and colorful Clay Hills.
Very interesting terrain on the way to the old ranch.

Very interesting terrain on the way to the old ranch.

Getting There

Reach the trailhead by going west from Green River Utah on I-70 to the junction with highway 24 that goes to Hanksville. Go toward Hanksville for about 25 miles to Mile Post 135.

  • A signed road goes off to the west signed Goblin Valley. ( 12S 537737mE 4275878mN / N38° 37' 50" W110° 33' 59" )
  • Follow this paved road 5.1 miles to a junction. Go south (left) on the signed road toward Goblin Valley, resetting your odometer. ( 12S 530077mE 4278354mN / N38° 39' 12" W110° 39' 16" )
  • Just before Goblin Valley, 6.0 miles, another junction occurs. Go right here, resetting your odometer once again. ( 12S 525266mE 4270703mN / N38° 35' 04" W110° 42' 36" )
  • Follow the road 5.3 miles to the signed Little Wild Horse trailhead, it is now paved all the way to the trailhead. Reset your odometer here. ( 12S 517180mE 4270494mN / N38° 34' 58" W110° 48' 10" )
  • From the Little Wild Horse Trailhead
  • Continue past the Little Wild Horse trailhead for 1.2 miles on the now dirt road to where the road makes a left. The Ding/Dang Canyon trailhead on the right. The main dirt road now curves and follows the wash bottom south. ( 12S 515466mE 4269810mN / N38° 34' 36" W110° 49' 21" )
  • 3.8 miles - The road leaves the wash and begins climbing. This section, particularly near the very top, was the worse section of road on my visit. ( 12S 515145mE 4266652mN / N38° 32' 53" W110° 49' 34" )
  • 7.9 miles - Amazingly colorful washes on both sides of the road through this section. ( 12S 511325mE 4265932mN / N38° 32' 30" W110° 52' 12" )
  • 9.5 miles - Side road on the left that goes to the old homestead a short distance away. If this road is in bad shape, another side road leaves in a few hundred feet that also goes to the homestead. ( 12S 509884mE 4264878mN / N38° 31' 56" W110° 53' 12" )
  • To Muddy Creek Crossing
  • Continue on the main dirt road past the homestead to reach The Muddy Creek crossing in about 1.3 miles. Be very cautious about trying to cross in a vehicle, it can be very deep mud! ( 12S 508264mE 4264786mN / N38° 31' 53" W110° 54' 19" )
Mud at the Muddy Creek crossing. Vehicles beware!

Mud at the Muddy Creek crossing. Vehicles beware!

Route

Once at the ranch, be sure to wander around. There is an old cabin to the east, away from the main two-story house, as well as a log fence corral, chicken coop, and water tank near the main house. Unfortunately, the rafters in the main house appear to be cracking badly and in danger of falling soon. Be cautious around the structure.


Videos

Views of the Hunt Ranch ryancornia

Maps

Printable Maps:
9.5 miles - Side road on the left to the ranch.

12S 509884mE 4264879mN

N38° 31' 56" W110° 53' 12"

Old Ranch and Two Story House

12S 509789mE 4264680mN

N38° 31' 50" W110° 53' 16"

Old Cabin

12S 509928mE 4264678mN

N38° 31' 50" W110° 53' 10"

10.8 miles - The Muddy Creek crossing.

12S 508264mE 4264786mN

N38° 31' 53" W110° 54' 19"

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