In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Leeds, Utah, Babylon Ghost Town
This trip actually has 3 parts to it. The Babylon Arch in the desert and the silver mines, plus on page 2, the Stormont Mill Site (which was also going to be a home site). The mines -- the only place in North America where they found silver in Sandstone. This mining area is part of Silver Reef on the western side of Interstate 15. The old mill site was purchased and a new extravagant home was started there. It burned down and was never finished, All of the foundations still remain (see Page 2). The arch is a short hike in the red sandstone area and is well worth the effort.
Ridge of Red Navajo Sandstone
Continuing on to the old Stormont Mill Site and the home site of John Vought, that was never finished. Also a completely different view of Stormont, don't miss this on Page 2
Continue to Page 2
A lot of this area is restricted to bike, foot or horse travel. Hiking here is a great pastime. Keep to the designated roads. There is a lot to see. This area is very diversified, with lava fields, and red and white Navajo Sandstone. In some places it runs in layers. More on this later.
You'll find this kiosk on the way in and it has a very helpful map. Also you should know that there are Sidewinder rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, Desert Tortoise and Chuckwalla that live in this area. In fact this is about as far north as you can go and still find these reptiles.
Coming into the parking area for the trail head you may see this rather large "Window Rock" off to the north. This area has a lot of different and varied rock formations.
On the way into the area (going east) you'll see this mine on the north side of the road and a large area to park next to it. On this lonely ridge you'll find several mines. This section of road is very sandy..
Turning north off the main road to the trail head for the Arch you'll find several interesting rock formations in the Navajo Red Sandstone. They seem to just pop up everywhere.
It's pretty obvious that a lot of water is collected here and run down this rock face. This water stain was pretty fresh, telling us that it rained here not too long ago.
As you can see here, there are some interesting rock formations, and a lot more to be found if you have the time to do a little hiking. We were running out of time at this point as it was our last stop on the way out
If we had known, we would have made this our first stop on the way in. But our time was kind of limited anyway and we wanted to get to the Stormont Mill. Not having been here before we had no idea how to plan this trip.
The trail head is clearly marked and fenced off to stop any motorized vehicles from entering. This hike is a little sandy in spots but is fairly short. About 1/2 mile in to the Babylon Arch.
Download the Garmin GPS track HERE
Here's Linda photographing some of the rock formations. Just to the right of her is the trail to the Arch.
We did not have time to hike to the Arch, but we were lucky enough to have these photographs given to us by Sue Reynolds who lives and hikes in Southern Utah. Sue is an avid hiker and her photos can be found all over Google Earth in Southern Utah as Panoramio photos. This is how we found her.
Here's another look at the other side of the Babylon Arch. Thanks to Sue Reynolds. You can enlarge this one.
2 Arch photos courtesy of Sue Reynolds
Moving on, heading East you'll come to the East Reef ridge of sandstone. As you can see here this is where the silver was found, where the red and white sandstone come together. Just below this location is a parking area where you can walk into the Babylon Trail.
The Babylon Trail is very popular and they tell me you can even find large pieces of petrified logs in there. We opted for an area of mines a little farther down the road. This is probably what attracted a miner to this location. Seams of white and red sandstone.
Linda found this in the red seam shown in the photo above. She always finds the neat stuff. In this photo it's hard to tell (keep reading) but this is a series of test drill holes, 11 of them altogether. They look funny here.
And here is the mine right next to the test drill site shown above. There was quite an extensive tailings pile next to the road and this why we stopped. The mine entrance was blocked with 1" inch rebar criss-crossed over the entrance.
Close-up look at the hole on the bottom right. Someone jammed rocks into the drill holes. The rocks fit in the holes very tightly. Why would they do this? Another mystery in the desert?
Here's a look into the mine. I wish we had been able to get into the mine. I was really curious just how far back it went.
Barely visible now, but this was at one time the miner's home. This was right next to the mine entrance and was only about 8 square feet.
Heading on toward the Stormont Mill Site you'll still see some very scenic spots like this one. I imagine that people that hike have taken some really nice photographs in some of these areas.
Helpful hint: After trying 5 different ways to photograph the tunnel, we found the best way to get as much depth as possible was to up the ISO to 1600 rather than use a flash. The flash wouldn't illuminate that far back into the tunnel.