In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2011 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Iron Town, Utah
Iron Ore Mine
Once you turn off of Rt. 56 onto Iron Town Road you should stop and look back toward the main road. The far hill is covered with tailings piles. Just this side of the tailings is the Union Pacific Railroad.
Traveling West on Rt. 56 out of Cedar City, Utah in the desert you'll see a lot of remote ranches and home sites like this one. Horses, cattle and sheep abound here. Keep any eye out for the turn on to Iron Town Road which will be on the left. This is a very scenic drive and is accessible for the most part by all 2 wheel drives. Desert Mound Road on the other hand depends on the time of year, see below.
Download the Garmin GPS track HERE
Pretty rock formations and boulders like this are along the route to Iron Town. The area was discovered in 1868 by Peter Shirts. The area then was known as Iron City. Later Ebenezer Hanks invested in the iron ore mine under the name of the Union Iron Company, later known as the Great Western Iron Company. In 1870 there were 97 people living in Iron City.
The little valley in this historic town is populated by a lot of modern homes and small ranches. Elevation here is 5,850 ft. It's a quiet community with a history.
In the background here is a nice little lake that is fed by the Little Pinto Creek. On the left in this photo is part of the old foundry building.
More of the walls and foundations of the foundry building. A chimney still stands in the back. A lot of this was vandalized and the walls and artifacts are gone. This area is still one of the richest iron ore deposits in the United States.
The old furnace here could process 2,500 lbs of ore a day. The original mine closed down in 1876. Columbus Steel took over and in 1923 the Union Pacific railroad ran a spur into the mine sending over 500 tons a day to Northern Utah. By the mid-1980's the mine was shut down again due mostly to foreign prices being too low to keep producing ore here in the US.
If you go south while in town you can wind your way down to the Little Pinto Creek and you'll find some interesting pieces of old farm equipment in the fields. The road down to the valley was very muddy, so be careful.
The Little Pinto Creek was, and probably still is, the main water supply for the town. The small reservoir above is supplied by this small Creek. The road seems to continue on for quite a ways once you reach the creek.
Once you leave Iron Town Road you can continue on west on Rt. 56 till the entrance of Desert Mound Road or go back east on Rt. 56 to Cedar City. The photo here shows the "good" part of Desert Mound road. The first part of the road where you go through the pass can be very rutted and muddy. We got side-ways a couple of times because it was so slick.
We were told by an older man in the town of New Castle that the Desert Mound Road was the main road at one time. Also in the mountains in the first part of the road there are supposed to be wild mustangs. We saw signs of them in the pass. So watch for them.
This is an interactive map of Iron Town and the surrounding area.
In the photo above you can see the tailings piles from the old American West Mine, which is now partially a land fill. To the right is an old BuCyrus Erie shovel that was once part of the Iron Ore Mine. This old shovel has now been moved to the Historic office in town on Main St.