I'll call this "Thermo Road," but the route is much more than that.
- Starts in Brian Head, descend Parowan Canyon.
- North on dirt through Kane Spring to paved 130 and north to Minersville. Fill up with gas and food.
- West from Minersville on the paved Thermo Road. Check Benchmark for details. It is paved almost to Lund. Short connection via good dirt on Blue Mountain Road. This is all north of the railroad line.
- Followed railroad frontage road from Lund to Beryl to Modena. The last bit to Modena requires a dual sport bike, not a road bike. No services in Modena.
- Easy dirt from Modena to Enterprise. Gas available.
- South on Highway 18 to St. George.
The run from Minersville to Enterprise is well over 100 miles. The reserve light on my WRR was on when I got to the Sinclair station in Enterprise.
Here's a simple map:
I've been to some of these areas before, but a few bits of these roads were new to me. Check out post #444 on page 30 for some pics around Lund, including some cool train pics.
On to the pics. Since the ride started in Brian Head, how 'bout another pic of that cool green reservoir. I had ridden my Versys up the night before and now wanted to bring my WRR back to St. George. I was going to have fun taking the long way.
On Kane Spring Road. The leaves are almost all gone at this elevation. They haven't even started to change yet in St. George. We have at least two months of fall color in SW Utah. Brian Head is peak color in early/mid September. St. George trees don't even start to change until November.
Perhaps this is Kane Spring. Pretty good flow across the road.
Cattle country, but not much around. Pretty empty area.
Connecting with pavement at 130, just south of Minersville, near Baboon and Dry Willow Peaks.
Attractive light on the local fauna.
Quick run down the pavement to Minersville. WRR really excels at this mixed dirt/pavement riding. Much better than the TW.
Bought gas, there are actually two stations in Minersville. But the food offerings were bleak. No restaurants. One local grocery store which was perfect.
Nice tables just outside, even a bit sheltered from the wind. All the meat was tucked down inside the sandwich. It was the real deal.
My view while eating lunch.
Headed west on the paved Thermo Road. Basically flat and boring, but I wanted to see what was there.
Quick diversion to check out the railroad tracks. These cars switch around, they are not abandoned. This car was super tall.
Complete with warning sign.
Crossing the tracks to get back up north to the Thermo Road which doesn't run adjacent to the tracks.
Have a pic of my Versys on this same crossing. Stormy skies on the day with my Versys made for much more interesting light. Today was clear and sunny. Boring light, but very pleasant day for a ride.
Mega-scale cattle ranching is the primary scenery along the Thermo Road. There are dozens of these large facilities, a few had the smell to match. Good to put these "cattle finishing" stations in the middle of nowhere.
Lots of groupings like this, all set back from the road. Don't tell the animal rights people about this. I'm sure that's why the all have gates that could be locked.
Got close enough to photograph the sign, but didn't want to go any closer.
Ranch building from a different generation. The windmill was working, which was cool.
Terrific symbol of the older American West.
Water would surge out of the pipe depending on wind speed.
Eventually the pavement of the Thermo Road ends. The commercial ranching operations end at the same place. Route turns to graded dirt/gravel. On Benchmark this is the Blue Mountain Road. In good conditions you could take a road bike through here. WRR at a T-intersection. That's the Bronze Knoll in the background.
A very long, straight stretch as the road gently descends towards Lund.
Poking around Lund for a few minutes. Lund is back on the trainline. Quite a bit of old stuff around.
Recent markings from the maintenance guys.
A few old houses, right in front of the tracks. Looks like they were two company houses.
Double sink and a nice view out the kitchen window. Just like my house. Perhaps Mrs. RedRockRider would like to contemplate a move?
The frontage road from Lund down to Beryl is in very good condition. This is where I rode my Versys before.
Cool old tower at Beryl. Reminds me of model trains when I was a kid, and with my son at holiday time.
Looking straight up. Don't know if the bird's nest is active or not. It's a big nest!
On my way from Beryl to Modena. This part is new to me.
The small bridge in the prior pic was built in 1914. A few other bridges were marked at early as 1904, well over 100 years ago. SW Utah was the wild west at that time. Train passengers were just starting to visit nearby Zion and Bryce National Parks. Lots of mining history in this immediate area as well. It is in Iron County, Utah.
Another bridge over a small wash.
This one dates from 1923. This work has withstood the test of time very well.
Typical set-up with road running immediately adjacent on the south side of the tracks. Same road used for maintenance by Union Pacific, but no signs in area limiting access. On other sections of this track towards Nevada it marked "Private - No Access."
Perhaps my favorite pic of the day. Late afternoon light near Modena.
Lots of ranches/farms just south of here. This guy had somehow hopped the fence and was looking to get back to his friends. When I looked up and noticed him I thought for a brief moment that perhaps I was on my way to Patagonia. That would be a cool moto ride!
Equipment shed near Modena.
Looking straight down the tracks from the Modena swtich. That's the highway 56 overpass in the distance.
Abandoned hotel in Modena. Common for these smaller railroad towns to have a hotel back in their prime.
A look inside the hotel.
Next door looks like an abandoned store, bar, or restaurant.
Another look inside.
Classic water tower. This is about as iconic as it gets for old railroad towns. I poked around a bit more, then found my dirt road from Modena down to Enterprise. It was time to put the camera away and twist the throttle. Smooth run back to St. George.
Thanks for riding along. This loop isn't classic southwest Utah redrock, but it is very pleasant riding and the railroad line adds a lot of interest, both from active trains and the long historical perspective.