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Emery Pass


This is the highest point on the road through "City of Rocks" National Preserve. This area is especially popular with rock climbers. The old California Trail skirted the area, but did not cross this pass. But in 1848 wagon travelers bound for the Willamette Valley in Oregon wrote descriptions of this granite outcrop scenery, and now one can read them next to the road across this pass.

1.(4560ft,mile00.0) START-END WEST: Center Street, Oakley
2.(6160ft,mile13.0)profile turns left onto City of Rocks Rd
3.(6820ft,mile15.3)Elba Pass
4.(5350ft,mile21.8)profile turns left onto Elba Almo Rd
5.(5700ft,mile29.6)Elba-Almo Divide
6.(4920ft,mile38.3)START-END EAST: jct Id77 - Elba-Almo Rd
7.(4520ft,mile46.0)START-END EAST ALTERNATE: jct Id81-Id30S Malta


Approaches

From West. Leaving the small town of Oakley ( one grocery store, even open on Sundays ) towards the west, the turnoff onto Birch Creek Road and "City of Rocks" preserve is clearly signed.

This road heading south is heavily graveled and passes between two sage ravines, that do not change, even if the road climbs 600ft. Clearly this is not the most attractive part of the ride. Just after the road seems to reach a top in this sagebrush hillmania for the probably 10th time, it actually does reach a summit for real.

But now the profile turns off this road, and continues to climb, now more steeply, up City of Rocks Road. An interesting view is starting to develop to the south. Finally a elaborate sign post, fashioned of flag rock appears, stating that the entrance to "City of Rocks" is imminent. There are a few rock outcrops visible behind the sign, but from this vantage point the whole thing seems a little overblown to the unsuspecting first time visitor. This road is sneaking in the backside. The east side has ample rewards in the form of unforgettable views for all the gravel behind.


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-------------City of Rocks National Reserve ----------



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From East. (described downwards). My notes say something about an elevation sign saying "6130ft", but the profile shows that this road goes higher. A few feet later comes the Emery Pass Picnic area, where first views of rocks standing like city blocks become visible. Signs evoke the impressions of old historic visitors and scientific perspectives. I won't try to add to these descriptions. I'll include pictures instead. The road on this side has a much harder surface, and would be a much better climb than the west side.


A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Elba Pass