Written By Lynn “Quadman” Blamires
Mineral Mountains on an ATV
Beaver, Utah’s annual ATV Jamboree, scheduled for May, was canceled. Registration fees, which covered meals and a T-Shirt, were refunded.
Realizing that Beaver still needed visitors, Michelle Evans, the Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Director along with the Tusher Mountain ATV Club, created a new event called Beaver ATV Adventure Days.
This new event had all the markings of a jamboree without the gatherings for meals and prizes. It was an invitation to come to Beaver, enjoy the local culture, and participate in rides with guides provided by the ATV club at no charge. Not knowing much about these trails, I called my friend, Dave Newton of Layton, and we headed for Beaver.
Here are some fun facts about this little town of fewer than 3,200 residents:
- It is the County Seat for Beaver County which includes Beaver, Milford with 920 people, and Minersville with 1,394. Other communities in the county are unincorporated.
- Named after the Beaver River, which was named because of a plethora of beavers.
- A hydroelectric generation plant built in the early 1900s made Beaver the first town in Utah to be powered by electricity.
- In 2006, Beaver received an award for the best tasting water in the United States. In 2010 that recognition was extended to the best tasting water in the world.
- Beaver is the birthplace of Butch Cassidy, the famous outlaw, and Philo T. Farnsworth, the father of television.
We chose to ride a trail called “Mag’s Brothel,” and headed to the west side of Beaver to begin. We turned north and passed by Black Mountain and over the Bald Ridges of the Mineral Mountains.
Phil, one of the guides, warned of a big rock we had to crawl over and to keep to the left. Well, I wasn’t sure where this rough spot was, but I came to a place that looked challenging and took a line to the right. As my right wheel dipped down into a hole, my left wheel flew high in the air. “Whoa, Nellie,” I thought. A little forward momentum brought the wheel back down and I was on my way. Later, I ask Phil about when we were going to tackle that rock. He said, “We already did.” “Oh,” I said, thinking of my wheel in the air.
Coming around Crater Knoll, we turned right just above Wildcat Hollow and rode to the north of Little Bearskin and Bailey Mountains. We soon came to the Roosevelt Hot Springs where a geothermal power plant was operating.
Here I learned about Beaver Counties’ sources of power. First, there is the geothermal power from the hot springs, and then there is a huge wind farm in Milford Valley. Third is solar power and forth is the methane gas provided by some four million pigs in the same valley. I am taking their word on the number.
However, we were here at the hot springs to learn about Mag’s Brothel. The establishment consisted of the saloon, a hotel, and three pools, which were fed by the hot springs. Each pool differed in temperature with the first one being the warmest.
Mag was a great entrepreneur. Every weekend, she would send wagons over to the Frisco Mine and bring the men back to enjoy the saloon, the pools, and other amusements she had to offer.
Leaving this little piece of history, we traveled north to the south end of Antelope Mountain where a curious structure is located. It is called the “Rock House.” It is literally a huge naturally hollow rock into which a house was built.
A fire in 2007 damaged the house, but pictures were available to show how well it was appointed in the day. Thought to be the home of a hermit, the house is roomy inside for its size, and besides the brick front; the house features a large wooden deck that provided a nice view of the valley.
Finishing our tour, we headed back down the trail to a grove of trees for lunch. During this break, Phil said that they tried to call this ride the “Rock House Trail” but interest waned until they changed it back to “Mag’s Brothel Trail.”
We made our way back over the Mineral Mountains and back to Beaver finishing a ride of about 67 miles. The best time to ride this trail is in the spring or fall. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and enjoy some history in the Mineral Mountains.