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Top 10 Things To Visit Around
By Gretchen Baker
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8. Visit A Ghost Town
The nickname for Nevada is the
Silver State, due to the copious amounts of mining that
occurred all over the state. One of the better-preserved
ghost towns in the area is Osceola (http://www.greatbasinheritage.org/osceola.htm),
located about 15 miles west of Baker and reached by
marked turnoffs on Highway 6/50. Gold was found in
Osceola in 1872, but it reached its heyday when placer
mining developed. Due to a lack of water, ditches were
built on both sides of the Snake Range to divert water
from several creeks to Osceola. With a population of more
than 500 in the mid-1880s, the town boasted a "ride-in"
saloon (among several saloons), the first telephone in
Nevada, and one of the first electrical systems.
Nevertheless, the gold petered out, the water proved to
be insufficient, and fires demolished parts of town.
Today a few collapsing structures and foundations remain,
along with a cemetery. More recent mining activity is
found on the west side. One other nugget of information:
the largest gold nugget found in the state of Nevada came
Alternatives: Many other mining towns
and districts came and went in the Snake Valley area. One
that still has a few people living in it is Goldhill
located a scenic two-hour drive north of Baker. As you
might guess, gold was found here, along with an array of
other minerals, and transported out via the Deep Creek
railroad. On the way to Goldhill, you will cross the
historic Pony Express Trail (http://www.nps.gov/poex),
which linked Missouri to California. The short-lived
venture, which carried mail 1,500 miles in only 10 days,
was amazing in the coordination and infrastructure that
it required. The ride is recreated every June near the
time of the full moon.
9. Mountain Bike Or Explore With An
The lower mountains in the area
provide great locations for exploring via mountain bike
or off-highway vehicles (OHV). One location is the
Sacramento Pass Recreation Area, with about 35 miles of
roads leading to Osceola, Weaver Creek, and Black Horse
Designated OHV trails in the Burbank Hills (98 miles) and
around Conger Mountain (127 miles) are marked and
traverse an often-overlooked part of Snake Valley.
Many of the roads are also suitable for high clearance
vehicles. Maps can be downloaded (http://stateparks.utah.gov/ohv/)
or requested from the Delta Chamber of Commerce.
Alternative: Hike, bike, or ride a
horse on part of the 6,800-mile long American Discovery
the only coast-to-coast non-motorized recreation trail.
The trail follows a combination of roads and trails,
entering the area next to Crystal Peak, crossing the
Ferguson Desert to Garrison, ambling up the highway to
Baker, then out along Highway 6 & 50 to Weaver Creek
and Osceola and into Spring Valley. It was first
completed in its entirety in 2005 (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=115499).
10. Find Fossils And
One of the best things about the
Great Basin is that there aren't many trees in the way of
the ground. The geology is varied, and a large number of
and gemstones can be found within a couple hours' drive.
Some of the best known places are Fossil Mountain
(Trilobites), Topaz Mountain (Topaz), Antelope Springs
(trilobites), Crystal Peak (White Quartz), Sunstone Knoll
(Sunstones), Painter Springs (Garnets, Pyrite, Muscovite,
Quartz), Conger Springs (Crinoids, brachiopods), Black
Rock (Black Obsidian), Drum Mountains (Agate), Indian
Pass (brachiopods, horned coral), Skull Rock Pass
(graptolites , trilobites, brachiopods, echinoderms)
and Fish Springs/Dugway (Geodes), (http://geology.utah.gov/utahgeo/rockmineral/index.htm).
Alternative: If you'd rather look at
rocks and minerals rather than search for the, the Great
Basin Museum in Delta (http://www.millardcounty.com/gbmuseum.html)
has a nice selection, along with exhibits about the early
history of the county and information about the nearby
Topaz Internment Camp.