We were eight riders in number and we started our ATV adventure in Fillmore Utah. I wanted to take a ride up Chalk Creek Canyon.
Two trails provide access to one of the most scenic canyons in Utah. One is the Chalk Creek Road and the other is the New Chalk Creek Canyon Road.
Once you enter the canyon, it is easy to be drawn to the creek itself. It cascades casually into pristine pools that would make a person who doesn’t even fish want to find a pole.
Four camp grounds/picnic areas make it possible to enjoy the beauty of this canyon for an afternoon or several days. Even their names conjure up the romance of the old west – names like Copley’s Cove, Buckskin Charley, Shingle Mill, and Pistol Rock.
I don’t often learn the reasons for names given some of landmarks on the trails I ride. This time I obtained some information from an article published in the Millard County Chronicle Progress, June 20, 2012.
The first one was named after Copley’s Creek that empties into Chalk Creek south of the campground. Buckskin Charley was named after the Ute Indian Chief who succeeded Chief Ouray in 1880. He rode in Theodore Roosevelt’s Inaugural Parade with Geronimo.
Shingle Mill was named after a lumber mill that was situated high above the campground on Shingle Mill Spring. There must be a reason for the name Pistol Rock, but I haven’t found it yet.
In 1983, there was only one road up Chalk Creek and it wasn’t called “New.” Some of the old timers will remember how bad the flooding was that year. The damage to the canyon access was extensive.
At that time, three wheelers were popular – it wasn’t until 1984 that the first ATV was introduced. It was in 1983-84 that the road was closed to automobile traffic and opened to ATVs. It has since become a popular route to access the Paiute ATV Trail System.
A New Chalk Creek Canyon Road was built above the old one for car and truck traffic to access the canyon. This road is also open to wider UTVs. It makes it possible to bypass the 50 inch section of the ATV trail that goes through the creek. The two trails rejoin near Copley’s Cove.
Sherry Shepherd is an ATV friend I keep in touch with on Paiute Trail conditions on the Fillmore side. She provided information for me to use for this article.
She told me that the spring runoff this year had closed the canyon trail. Having ridden up the trail to assess the damage, she found the first crossing of the creek quite treacherous. The water was high and boulders had been washed into the creek at the crossing.
Managing that, she ran into eight foot drop offs and downed trees that made the trail impassable. From a newspaper article she sent, I learned that certain factions wanted to keep it closed, but my friend was instrumental in getting the trail reopened. She was able to show the negative economic impact the closure would have on Fillmore.
Millard County and the Forest Service worked together to make a new 50 inch track through the canyon. After being closed through July, our little band of eight was up for the adventure on this mid-August trek.
We rode from our motel to the entrance of the canyon. Taking the New Chalk Creek Canyon Road, we dropped down to the old road just before the 50 inch gate.
I was impressed with the work that been done to reopen the trail. It was easy to see the scope of the effort required with the trees that were down and debris that was scattered about.
Not only were the aesthetics of the trail preserved, but additional water crossings were created in building the new route. I liked the old trail, but I like the new one even better.
It follows the creek through thick groves of tall trees, crossing back and forth through the creek as it winds through the canyon. It isn’t just the 50 inch gates that make this a narrow trail; some of the turns we encountered would be unmanageable in a wider machine.
Coming out at Copley’s Cove, we took the new road back to town finishing a ride of about 20 miles. When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and enjoy this new trail through Chalk Creek Canyon.