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Lookout Pass

The western desert ranges of Utah have many wide gaps. So the elevation gains on these passes often stays within limits. This is actually one of the larger climbs, compared with the points west of here.Because of a number of unusual surprises along this route, I have to make this one one of my favorite passes in this general area.

1.START-END EAST ALT:jct Ut199 - Ut36
2.jct Ut36 Faust Rd
3.START-END EAST: profile turns west onto Pony Express Rd
4.TOP: Lookout Pass, 6192ft
5.jct with Hatch Ranch Rd on right
6.profile stays right at this fork
7.profile turns right onto Government Creek Rd
8.START-END WEST:jct with Ut199 at Dugway entrance
9.START-END WEST ALT: low point on Ut199 in Skull Valley


From East. Immediately after turning off Ut36 various signs evoking galloping horses, make it clear, that you are now following the old Pony Express trail. The surface does not give a hint. It is smooth dirt, verging on hard medalled. I imagine this is for the benefit of the first settlement, that shows up close to the road, a curious group of 5 or more car garages plus RV buses parked outside, with attached housing, guaranteed to be big enough for the next three prodigious generations of offspring.

A straight, fast smooth dirt road leads up to a low gap on a wooded ridge between the Simpson Mountains and the Onaqui Mountains. It leads to a an attractive, well defined summit. This spot has a very cared-for appearance, with a very pleasant view onto the desert ranges to the west. The cared-for appearance is due to a picnic table, a nicely constructed wooden fence and a plaque, telling the role of this pass as a sheep herding driveway, from a long time ago and still used for that purpose. The plaque is in honor of a sheep person active in this field.

From West. (described downwards). This attractive summit is only the first of several surprises along the route. After starting a fast decent, the next stone column marks the site of the Lookout Pass Pony Express Station, while meanwhile on the other site of the road a pet cemetery will keep those occupied with less of an interest in this historic horse torture institution.

Soon after this the profile takes the right option at a fork, and deviates from the marked Pony Express route. The route here becomes a little rougher, but I would still call it bicycle friendly. Taking a right at the next T junction leads onto Government Creek Rd heading north towards Dugway. These names are from maps. None of the junctions are signed.

The next surprise on this unusual route is a main watering hole of the Tonaqui Wild Horse management area. There must have been about 100 horses there living out there, putting their social interactions on display, while a handfull of telephoto lens equiped tourists were watching not far away. A sign later along the route explains that this large number of 100 to 200 wild horses in a single clan is not at all the norm, but due to the way the horses are managed by the BLM. Several families band together with a single lead horse and mare, also a harem of sorts, while younger males leave the family and band together in expelled adolescent groups ... that is (I guess) a kind of ghetto horse neighboorhood with gangs.

One more surprise waits along the route before reaching a low point. The road seems to be approaching a healthily sized village with all kinds of businesses and interesting institutions. Once on pavement, the entrance turns out to be a guardstation with no entrance permitted. Good thing I have some water left. These are the Dugway Proving grounds.

The profile continues back in an easterly direction towards Fisher Pass until reaching a low point on Ut189 and adjoins the Fisher Pass profile.

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

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