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Ut56 Cedar City - New Castle Summit

Paved Ut56 is a fast and furious highway without shoulders, close to Cedar City. Maybe at times it's not quite that bad, but a perfect cycling route looks different. Enter this alternate approach on good gravel roads. It is even part of an official "gravel - trail[road]" net. I discovered this when I saw a small sign along the road with a bicycle on it. This gravel road system is made for commercial mining trucks, and every once in a while you meet one. But, judging from their behavior, something or someone must have convinced them to be as considerate as humanly possible and slow down to minimum speed when encountering another vehicle such as a bike. You can see them coming from miles away by a vane of blowing dust, but once they are face to face - I have never met any more considerate automobile drivers.

1.START-END EAST: profile turns left onto Desert Mound Rd
2.Eightmile Pass, 6050ft
3.profile stays left at unsigned intersection
4.profile turns left ono Comstock Rd
5.route joins Ut56
6.TOP, 6450ft
7.western jct with Dessert Mound Rd
8.START-END WEST:jct US56 - Main Street to center of New Castle


From East.
As outlined in the introduction, the profile follows a mostly unpaved gravel route, and only joins Ut56 shortly before the summit.

The profile starts in ash colored cedar hills, not far from a collection of strange buildings and an rv park, calling itself a resort, and labeled Iron Springs on the map - to be more precise, the profile starts at the intersection of Iron Springs Rd and Desert Mound Rd. The profile starts out on the latter and first crosses something called Eightmile Pass on maps, without the hint of a turn. Cresting this summit is nontheless memorable because of the stark view on the other side. A wide valley is cut into triangles by two straight lines - both roads. You meet the junction of these two lines on the other side of Eightmile Pass. The left (more southerly) option is the subject of this page and it leads to the UT56 summit, while the right one (more northerly option) goes over a slightly lower unmarked/ innamed summit keeping the name Desert Mound Rd.

This southerly option splits again in two. The first option is staying left immediately after the railroad crossing. It is a little shorter. It is also the route on the profile, but also contains a short very rough and rocky section, before the two options meet. The second option is staying on Dessert Mound Rd to a major intersection, and then going left there. Even though there are no road or directional signs at these crossings, there is a small, easily misinterpreted "Color County Gravel Trail System" sign (featuring a bicycle) and an arrow in the direction of the described route.

After the two routes meet up again, the road seems to head straight for the ore processing facility of Iron Mountain, but then cuts left before the plant entrance, following close to the rail line. The last part is a wide paved road. It connects with Ut56 shortly before the summit, and there is even a ridable shoulder on the right side of the rumble strips, lasting a short distance past the flat featureless summit.

From West. (described downwards). Pinto Rd takes off near the general summit area and climbs a little higher.  After the summit Ut56 road contours around a hill named "Iron Mountain". All that is left of this land feature is a series of mined terraces, looking out over the landscape like condo-balconies, crowded together in an Italian Riviera resort. But to get an impression of this you have to gain some distance, like going down Old Ironton Rd.

On this side the profile follows Ut56 itself the entire distance, and traffic is no longer an issue worth loosing words on. The road soon looses the shoulder, but who cares?. A long flat dessert ray heads for the junction with Desert Mound Rd, and a further shallow decent leads into the collection of trailers, houses and cars, collectively known as New Castle.

Dayride with this point as highest summit:


( < Pinto Crest s(u)Arrowhead Pass > )

Ut56 Cedar City - New Castle Summit , Dessert Mound Rd s(u) , Eightmile Pass x2 , additioinal out and back:  Old Ironton Rd, a few miles from jct with Ut56 <> out and back to Old Ironton and south on Old Pinto Creek Rd till turnaround due to deteriorating road >> Old Ironton Rd north > Ut56 west > Dessert Mound Rd east > Dessert Mound Rd s(u) <> out and back on Iron Springs Rd south to jct with Ut45 <> separate out and back on Iron Springs Rd north to Iron Springs >> back over Eightmile Pass on Dessert Mound Rd > unmarked rd west, heading for Iron Mountain > Comstock Rd south > Ut56 west > back to starting point on old Ironton Rd: 56.0miles with 3550ft of climbing in 5:32hrs (garmin etrex30 m3:22.5.9)
Notes: strong headwind on way back