This is an interesting part of Utah. The Sevier River is the longest river in the state that stays in the state. It waters a series of farming/ranching communities the length of the valley. This is McDonaldLess Land. You will not see much in the standard fast food stores until you reach Kanab on the Arizona Line. TrailBear cares because wifi at McDonalds is how he communicates on the road.
THE SEVIER RIVER VALLEY…
Into geology? Google on the Sevier Overthrust Belt and check out the local volcanoes – which give the Big Rock Candy Mountain that color. Check out the Henry mining district in the mountains west of the trail. Thar’s something in them thar hills. Say “The Sevier Orogeny”. Sounds like a Robert Ludlum novel. Think – thrust sheets fifty miles wide and 10,000’ thick. That’s some earth moving.
The BRCM trail comes in two parts offering two different ride options. The hinge is the trailhead at Sevier Junction, just north of the tiny hamlet of Sevier, Utah. There is a freeway offramp on I-70 that takes you right to the trailhead. Exit the freeway and head to the…
SEVIER JUNCTION TRAILHEAD, GE: 38.588552 -112.258208
Sevier Junction is a good spot to stage your ride. Here you have a gravel parking lot, a double vault toilet (only one on the trail – hint) and an information kiosk. Here you have choices:
You can ride NE along the Sevier Highway about nine miles to the hamlet of Elsinore. The pavement is good blacktop. The scenery is wide open vistas of mountains, fields, farming and ranching life in the Sevier Valley and no shade to speak of.
You can head south down into the Sevier Canyon and ride along the Sevier River amid unfolding scenes of the river, the canyon and the rather interesting geology. This ride ends at the trail end at the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort about seven miles along. There are no trail facilities here, but the resort has gas, restrooms, restaurant, store and other services.
You can guess which option TrailBear elected. Hot day. Possible shade. Scenery. Canyon it is. Another reason to start a canyon ride here instead of the south end is that from here you are ascending the trail. TrailBear always tries to do his climbing in the early morning cool and his downhill later in the heat of the day when he is somewhat fatigued. Nothing like bonking and having miles of uphill to do. Fall has not yet arrived and the temps are about 10-15 degrees above average for this time of year.
In this case there was a canyon breeze that built around 1100 hrs. It was a head wind climbing toward the resort, but a tail wind coming back. If you are early on the trail, you may well find no breeze until late morning.
THE EAGLE ROCK TUNNEL, GE: N38.56886 W112.26519
Here is a little 200’ tunnel. No light required. The tunnel is closed to traffic and the trail diverts around the ridge. There is a gravel access parking strip on the highway with quick access to the tunnel. This is pretty much it for attractions on the trail – unless you count the culverts. They offer an old timber culvert under the trail, then a concrete one with head wall, etc.
FIRST CUT, GE: N38.56124 W112.27233
The rock in this cut is rather unstable. Notice all the debris on the trail. Some type of igneous or morphed igneous rock from the look. Notice all the rocks in the matrix. Volcano belching? Pyroclastic flow? Over at the campground there are cliffs made of ash fall.
THE SOUTH END OF THE TRAIL, GE: N38.51598 W112.26450
A few more bends of the canyon and it widens. Ahead is the Big Rock Candy Mountain – a point of igneous interest. From Utah Geology…
“Approximately 21 million years ago, at least six magma bodies intruded the overlying Bullion Canyon Volcanics. Through a complex chemical process involving hydrogen sulfide, steam, ground water, and oxygen, the original volcanic rock was partially altered or totally replaced. The vivid colors that one sees at Big Rock Candy Mountain are the direct result of this mineralization.
The yellow, orange, and red colors are from the presence of iron minerals, such as jarosite, hematite, and pyrite. The white color is due to the presence of alunite and kaolinite, minerals rich in potassium.”
There you have it. The reason why.
Also ahead is the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort. Here there be Services and such. That collection of cabooses and cars across the rivers is one of their projects. These are to be turned into cabins. Interesting idea. The sewer connections are laid in. Stay tuned.
Here is the end of the trail. The paving stops and turns into an ATV trail. There are hundreds of miles of ATV trails in these mountains. This is where the tourist dollars are, not the occasional bikie like TB to ride down the canyon.
You can take the AVT bridge across the river to the highway and the resort, to food, ice cream, perhaps even cold beer or you can about face and pedal down the canyon for a change. Decisions, decisions.
CAMPING, SERVICES AND SUCH…
For camping near the trail, try Castle Rock Campground. It is a charming campground associated with the Fremont Indian State Park – but not in the park. It is off the beaten track, tucked up a draw with rather interesting volcanic cliffs on either side. GE: 38.552633 -112.355969.
You want the west entrance to Fremont Indian – or you drive though the entire park, looking for the campground – which is not in the park or on the same side of the freeway. (Don’t ask.)
Richfield is where you can buy things. It is about half way between LA and Denver on I-70. Still, it is in the McDonald-Less Zone. Much of the Sevier Valley is in that zone. No Carl’s. No Jack. No Mac. No Panda Express. There is said to be a wifi hotspot at the Quality Inn on South Main.
Heading back down the trail at a high rate of speed. Now this is fun.