Spirit Railroad |

Northern Swell

Roadside Attraction Spirit Railroad - Northern Swell Roadside Attraction Spirit Railroad
Northern Swell

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview


TICKS & TODOS: 0 Todo Lists / 0 Ticks
RATING: Roadside Attraction
LENGTH: 1 hour
MAPS: Chimney Rock, UT;
WATER: None.
SEASON: Any, hot in summer.
Tue Hi:40 Lo:23 Wed Hi:42 Lo:22 Thu Hi:40 Lo:23 Fri Hi:40 Lo:22 Sat Hi:40 Lo:23
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In 1881 the D&RGW railroad company decided to extend their line through the San Rafael Swell. The line was planned to leave Green River, UT, travel up Cottonwood Wash, across Buckhorn Flat, and to a junction near Huntington. From the junction, the line would split and go north to Price and south through Salina Canyon to Salina.

Though the railroad was never completed, hundreds of locals worked on the project and an impressive amount of railroad bed was prepared. Ties were even cut in Tie Canyon near Huntington and floated 20 miles down to sell to the railroad.

There are a few places in the Swell to see the railroad remains, though the Spirit Railroad Complex site that SITLA developed in 2016 is an excellent place to start and offers a lot of railroad remnants in a small area. Highly recommended for history buffs and railroad enthusiasts.

Getting There

The trailhead has a few rough sections, but most vehicles can make it if carefully drive.

There are two way to reach the trailhead, from Buckhorn Wash area, and from Highway 6.

From Highway 6

To reach the trailhead, take the Green River cutoff from highway 6 between Price and I-70. This good dirt road travels west off of highway 6 at mile marker 283.2 (16.4 miles north of I-70 on highway 6).

  • Reset the odometer as you leave the highway. ( 12S 557112mE 4338541mN / N39° 11' 39" W110° 20' 19")
  • At mile 1.0, go left at the fork. ( 12S 555967mE 4339649mN / N39° 12' 16" W110° 21' 06")
  • At 1.2, road goes under the railroad. ( 12S 555830mE 4339248mN / N39° 12' 03" W110° 21' 12")
  • At 1.4 is a junction. Go right. ( 12S 555730mE 4338742mN / N39° 11' 46" W110° 21' 17")
  • Follow this road, ignoring side roads until 12.1 miles. En route, you should cross cattle guards at 2.2, 5.1, and 10.9 miles. ( 12S 544541mE 4336793mN / N39° 10' 45" W110° 29' 04")
  • Continue straight an addition 3.1 miles (15.2 from the highway) to a signed side road on the right. The road is signed for the Spirit Railroad. Reset your odometer. ( 12S 540042mE 4336870mN / N39° 10' 49" W110° 32' 11")
  • From Buckhorn Wash
  • From the top of Buckhorn Wash, at the T junction, go right (east) on the Green River Cutoff road for about 5.2 miles to the second signed Spirit Railroad leaving the Green River Cutoff on the left (north) side. Reset your odometer as you turn onto this side road.
  • Both
  • 0.5 miles - Junction, go right. ( 12S 539516mE 4337341mN / N39° 11' 04" W110° 32' 33")
  • 1.2 miles - Small side road on the left, stay to the right. ( 12S 540264mE 4337811mN / N39° 11' 19" W110° 32' 02")
  • 1.4 miles - Trailhead and informational sign. ( 12S 540549mE 4337976mN / N39° 11' 24" W110° 31' 50")

Route

Once at the site, an informational board offers a reasonable overview map. Everything is within a 5-minute walk from the parking area. Check out the railroad grade, debris piles, old buildings, and dug-outs that the workers lived in. Bring a lunch, this is a great place to wander around, learn about the history of the railroad and take in the big views of the Book Cliffs to the East and Cedar Mountain to the north.


Maps

Printable Maps:
Green River Cutoff Road

12S 540042mE 4336872mN

N39° 10' 49" W110° 32' 11"

0.5 miles - Junction, go right.

12S 539516mE 4337341mN

N39° 11' 04" W110° 32' 33"

1.2 miles - Small side road on the left, stay to the right.

12S 540264mE 4337811mN

N39° 11' 19" W110° 32' 02"

1.4 miles - Trailhead and informational sign.

12S 540549mE 4337976mN

N39° 11' 24" W110° 31' 50"

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