Thursday, May 30, 2013

Abundant Campsites in the Abajo Mountains.

Four years ago hubby and I noticed a couple of signs indicating the locations of Indian ruins.  However, the roads leading to them were very unsuitable for a car; so we kept saying that we would make more of an effort once we got a Jeep or SUV.  Two years later we finally purchased a used SUV and made the trip back up North Creek Road (aka Abajo Mountain Loop Drive, Abajo Drive) to visit those elusive ruins.  The signs were no longer on the roadway; there are so many dirt roads leading to who knows where and we couldn't remember. 

Mule Deer
Yesterday I decided to take the ride back up the mountain road, and took my dog Jenna with me.  She had a great time running through grassy fields, and surprisingly didn't bark at, or chase, any of the mule deer in the area.  We investigated a few of the dirt roads by parking my car safely off the main road, and walking through to see what we could see.  I did see a male wild turkey, but they can walk faster than I thought; by the time I had the camera ready, it was already into the brush.

I didn't find any ruins, just too many dirt roads to investigate; however, there are so many places to go camping up there!  Many sites are visible from the roadway, many you have to drive a little way to.  There are two campgrounds up in the Abajos that are run by the Forestry service, Dalton Springs and Buckboard.  They can accommodate RVs, but have no hookups; there are toilets of a sort, and no electricity to charge your cellphones, Ipads or laptops.  The camp sites around the three lakes can accommodate small camping trailers, but no mansions on wheels.

Guess I better tell you how to get to a few places; at the corner of 200 South and Main Street in Monticello, Utah is the Welcome Center.  Take 200 South west and follow the street as it curves to the left; keep following this curvy street and you'll finally see the beginning of the road up into the mountains.  As you travel the road, be careful of the deer, they're out any time they want to be; you're the visitor, not them.  The first place I investigated was at the 4.5 mile mark, a dirt road off to the right side of the road; there are camp sites and the most beautiful view of the valley, Monticello and the road (Route 491) going off towards Colorado.  Small trailers can get through, huge motor homes...not; continue up the mountain road and you'll see the signs for Dalton Springs and Buckboard to accommodate those.

View of valley and the La Sal Mountains

You'll have to travel about 10 miles before you get to a fork in the road; to the left leads to Foy Lake, to the right leads to Harts Draw Road and finally to Route 211.  All along the way you'll see breath taking scenery of the mountains.

Now if you only travel about 9 miles, you're going to see a graded road on the right which leads to a 3-way crossroads after curving up the hill.  If you take the road going straight, that is Spring Creek Road; it is bumpy here and there, but a car can traverse the entire road until it comes out on Route 191 (8.5 mile drive).  All along the road are dirt roads where many camp sites are visible via the road, and some you have to drive a little way to.  The speed limit is marked as 35, but I did 20 with my car; many a squirrel and chipmunk crossing the road were thankful for that.

If you want to go directly onto Spring Creek Road from Route 191, there are no signs indicating it by name, no mile markers nearby, just a simple white marker with the number 103 on it.  I can tell you though that it is 4 miles north from the town of Monticello; and the photo gives you a hint of what the entrance looks like currently.  There are many ranches along Spring Creek Road, so if you see "Private Property" and/or "No Trespassing" signs, YES!  they are meant for you.

Basically, if you are looking to camp outdoors and leave all the modern conveniences of the world; the Abajo Mountains is your mecca.  It is peaceful, quiet, serene; you can commune with nature and forget about stresses in your life.  Just enjoy.

Mary Cokenour



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