In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Gooseberry Mesa Addition
Grafton, Ghost Town
Gooseberry Mesa, Grafton Topography Map
If you are anywhere near Rockville, Apple Valley, Hurricane, or Zion NP, Utah, then you're only a short ride away from the old ghost town of Grafton. It does have an interesting cemetery and ghost town. Let's look at the cemetery first. There are two ways to get here, see theTopo Map below or download the GPX Track.
Above is a photo of the main road into Grafton, along the Virgin River. To the left is a photo from the cemetery looking toward Zion (the high mountains in the background). The immediate area around the cemetery is very pretty as you can see. The cemetery is a little farther from the River than the ghost town.
One of my favorite grave marker headstones is this one. George Washington Gibson. At first I thought it was just George Washington. He was born June, 17th. 1800 and died on August 17th. 1871. 71 years old is old for back then.
Some parts of the cemetery are very well maintained and even fenced in, like this section. Other parts, well look below. Somebody did put a lot of time and effort into maintaining this grave site.
Another favorite marker, Robert M. Berry born Feb. 2nd. 1841 - died Apr. 2nd. 1866. Which means he died at the age of 25. But how did he die? It's on the headstone, Killed by Indians. So back in the early to mid 1800's we know they had some problems with Indians.
Headstones like this one are by far my favorites. We like them all, but this one is really old and has weathered some bad sand storms and rains over the years and is still here and readable. Mr. William F. Hunt. He was born on 16th. of April 1859 and died on 2nd. of January 1883. Meaning he was only 24 years old. Life expectancy back then was very short and if you did live to 70 or 80 years of age it wasn't considered normal. These headstones tell a story. The wealth of the families is also visible here.
???? Ann Sparks was the wife of a Gibson and lived to be 69 years old and died in 1871. You can see the similarity to the headstone of George Washington Gibson above. The same material was used to carve the two stones in much the same manner. It says on the headstone that Ann Sparks was married to George and died the same year he did. This would make you think that the Gibsons, among others, were a big part of the family life in Grafton.
This one I can't figure out, the main name on the top is Wood, but below that is Emily Louise Hastings who died at 48 years and on the right is George Henry (Wood maybe?) who died at the age of 38. They were married in 1862.
This kind of headstone is always cute but makes you wonder if it is real. I mean a real person that lived in this kind of settlement. These were hard working pioneers trying to farm the land. It was not a big town back then. It does make you wonder. Have an insight into this?
When ever you're out in a new area, keep an eye open. This was a complete surprise. A Roadrunner? We didn't expect to see one in this area.
The ghost town has had it's problems, with vandals. Now they are in the process of restoring the old buildings and it may look somewhat different when you get there. When we visited the town in Nov. of 2007 you could not go into the buildings, now I think you can.
Of course they had a really nice church and meeting hall in the town. A brick structure. This old ghost town is still in amazingly good condition.
Another one of the old homestead buildings you'll find here. There are more out buildings and sheds in the town also. This is really worth seeing. Now you can go inside and see how they shaped the old logs to make these buildings. Very interesting.
This is just a small part of the road down the mesa from Apple Valley to Grafton and Rockville, Utah. This road makes the trip worth while. You'll get a heck of a view coming down off of Gooseberry mesa.
Smithsonian Butte at 6,434 ft. elevation has a special meaning. It was used by the Smithsonian as an icon for a long time. At least that's the story I heard. It is a landmark that is north/northeast of Apple Valley. Anyone that's from the southwest of Utah can tell you where it is.
If you drive to Grafton from Apple Valley you'll travel alongside of Smithsonian Butte which will be on your right, the largest mountain you'll see. There are a lot of side roads in the area. This road is a little bumpy and after a rain, a muddy mess and should not be attempted in a 2 wheel drive vehicle. Worth the trip? Yes, we thought so.
Map shows Rockville and Smithsonian Butte -
"Bud", Leland Sanders supplied this trip that the St. George Jeepers went on that included Goosebury Mesa in the desert. Very scenic trip with a lot of extra information supplied about the Ghost Town of Grafton and the trails on Gooseberry Mesa. As always, Bud did an excellent job publishing an account of the trip and the history of the area.
The original article on the "Grafton Cemetery" and "Grafton Ghost Town" can be found below. It does not include Gooseberry Mesa. This new additional trip report was added on February 4th. 2016.
The St. George Jeeper's trip, including photographs, are published in a PDF format. You will need a PDF reader to view this document. If you don't have a PDF reader, then here are links to two common ones you can dowload, they are free.
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Gooseberry Mesa - Grafton (PDF)
Download the GPX track for this trip here -
This GPX track is the same as the one above without the side trip to Gooseberry Mesa.
One of the many overlooks on Gooseberry Mesa.
Original Report, June 19th. 2015