On top of Horse Heaven near Marysvale

Thursday , September 07, 2017 - 5:00 AM

LYNN BLAMIRES, special to the Standard-Examiner

This was our second day at the Paiute Trails Rally in Marysvale. My purpose for being here was to find new trails. Rally hosts Jim and Terri Peterson, owners of the South Forty RV Park, had already shown us the Barney Lake Trail and we were back for more.

Jim scratched his head and said, “Well, have you been on the Cottonwood Loop?” I indicated that I had and he said, “Take the third trail on your left as you climb up the Hennessy Point Road. It is marked No. 112 and tell me what you think.” So our little group of four machines packed up and headed for the Cottonwood Loop.

At the top of the hill leaving Tugs filling station going west, the trails split. Trail No. 77 goes straight west through Revenue Gulch and is the beginning of the Cottonwood Loop. The Bullion Canyon Road goes south and west of the junction.

We took the trail up Revenue Gulch. I wondered what the name had to do with the mining history of the area. Was this a place that yielded treasure?

A pretty trail, it winds through the trees climbing up the side of the mountain. It drops down onto the Bullion Canyon road before coming to Pine Creek. Crossing the creek, we turned left and began our climb up the Hennessy Point Road.

Coming to a trail marked No. 1112, we wondered if this was the trail Jim was talking about. Close enough, we figured, and it turned out to be the right one.

The trail was a narrow two-track that meandered through the trees on a series of switchbacks as we climbed the side of the mountain. Leveling out at just less than 11,000 feet, we stopped to let the others catch up.

They didn’t, so we turned back to see if there was a problem. There was. On a straight section of the trail, the track had a dip in the middle with a ridge on the left side. The Yamaha Rhino in our group had gone a little too far to the left and became high-centered in that ridge of gravel. I got out the tow rope and gave them a tug out.

Back on the trail, we topped out on a knoll above the tree line. The view was incredible – a 360-degree panorama from the top of the world. I felt like breaking out into song but managed to control myself, which is something I know the group appreciated.

Dropping off the knoll, the trail dipped down and then climbed up to another view point at an old log cabin overlooking a canyon that fell away to the east – a good place to have lunch.

This was also a good time to ponder our location and work through my confusion. According to the Paiute Trails Map, we were on the top of Horse Heaven. Checking my GPS, we were near the top of Deer Trail Mountain with Horse Heaven to the south and east of us. Either way, I guess if I were a horse, this place would be pretty close to heaven.

Leaving Horse Heaven, we headed back down to the Cottonwood Loop Trail and continued our ride. The high point on this route is near Edna Peak where the trail tops out at about 11,100 feet.

We wanted to take the trail through a series of mining camps on Alunite Ridge, but it was closed due to some new mining activity. We turned around at the gate and rejoined the trail as we began our descent through Cottonwood Canyon.

The drop in altitude was gradual as we worked our way down the mountain. Stopping at an old log structure on the side of the trail, we took a break before arriving in Marysvale. We reached our motel just before the rain.

I have enjoyed the trails in the Paiute System, but I am now taking a closer look at the map. I am seeing new places I would like to ride thanks to suggestions I got from Jim Peterson. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and enjoy a little piece of Horse Heaven

Email Lynn Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

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