Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Silver Reef

By now you know that I am a sucker for new trails and cool stuff, I had heard from a friend that they had added some new property and subsequent trails to the Red Cliffs Desert Preserve. The trail head is called White Reef, and starts across the highway from Harrisburg. 

The Silver Reef area was a booming mining area during the late 1800's. It's still the only place in the world where you can find silver veins embedded in sandstone.  The Smithsonian deemed an early sample of the ore, "an interesting fake." Not believing that silver could be found in sandstone. 
During it's heyday Silver Reef boasted a Main street over a mile long, it's own China Town and according to one historian, was the murder capitol of Utah for quite a few years. Despite the number of Mormon settlements in the area the town never had a Mormon Church. 
Due to a drop in silver prices the town began its decline in 1880 but in 1951 Uranium was mined there for a time. 

The old mines are still very visible along the Reef

Behind the bars, looking into a shaft. 

Dead center you see another mine as well as numerous tailing piles from other workings.

Just outside of the populated area I ran across this shaft. It's a terrible picture, I was scared to death that I would drop my phone.  That chasm is about 25 ft across and I am sure goes straight to the center of the earth.

The old Wells Fargo Building is now the museum.

I plan on going back to do some more exploring, as well as reading up on more history. The ride is okay, mostly double track and lots of horse destruction. I am not sure which I despise more, horses or 4-wheelers. 

The Garmin pooped out for about 6 miles of stream crossings and the hike-a-bike sections.

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