San Rafael Swell Century Mine Tour (Southern Loop)

The SRS Century Mine Tour completes a loop through the southern half of the San Rafael Swell. It gains its name both from the near 100 mile loop but also in part to the many century old historic mining locations you will visit throughout the loop.

Route Sketch:
Start at the Temple Mountain OHV staging area, the site offers group camping areas, plenty of parking and easy access from Highway 24. From the staging area, continue west and north west towards Tan Seep via the Temple Mountain Road (EM1012). At Tan Seep, turn left heading southwest for approximately 1 mile. There, turn right on EM1019 towards Red Canyon. After approximately 8 miles you will reach the turnoff for the Red Canyon Mining Area. The sites mines are easily seen from the road and you should plan a few hours to explore the area.

Back on EM1019, continue south for 5 more miles to the Lucky Strike Mining Area turnoff. The road into the Lucky Strike Mine ghost town and site is approx. 1.5 miles long and is well worth the detour from the loop. Back on EM1019, continue south to the Tomsich Butte Mining Area turnoff. The mines and associated buildings are scattered throughout the area to the west of the intersection, all within a mile. Plan on several hours to visit them all.

Back on EM1019, continue southeast towards the Hidden Splendor Mine turnoff. The trip to the Hidden Splendor mine is approx. 15 miles each way along EM1012. You will reach the end of the road at the Hidden Splendor back country airstrip, from there it is a short hike down the cabins along the Muddy River. There are mines high above the cabins as well as on the opposite side of the river.

Retrace your steps north to the Hidden Splendor Mine turnoff and continue north back to the Tan Seep intersection on EM1012, take a right on EM1012 and retrace your steps back to the Temple Mountain OHV Staging area. Total mileage is just about 100 miles from the staging area and back.
(see notes for details on each location)

Site Details & Notes:

Temple Mountain: Site Location: 38.688236, -110.680511

Temple Mountain OHV staging area: Site Location: 38.656815 N, 110.661422 W

Tan Seep: Site Location: 38.761816, -110.805766

Red Canyon Mining Area: Coming soon, see ExpeditionUtah forum for more information.

Lucky Strike Mining Area: Coming soon, see ExpeditionUtah forum for more information. Site Location: 38.755667, -110.949187

Tomsich Butte Mining Area: Coming soon, see ExpeditionUtah forum for more information. Site Location: 38.683932, -110.998166

Hidden Splendor Mining Area: Coming soon, see ExpeditionUtah forum for more information. Site Location: 38.558394, -110.950566

Vehicle Requirements:
This route is suitable to all high-clearance 4×4 vehicles, 2WD or cars are not recommended. Plan to have at least a 100 mile (off-road) fuel capacity from one end of the loop to the other. The nearest fuel is Green River to the east or Hanksville to the south, both are ~50 miles from the common loop access points at Temple Mountain on the east side or Swazey’s Cabin (I-70) on the north end of the loop. There are no services in these areas, plan to cover all your own water, food, vehicle and camping needs. It is not uncommon to spend days in this area without seeing other travelers, plan accordingly.

Resources:
ExpeditionUtah Forum Trip Reports
Bureau of Land Management – San Rafael Swell
Emery County – Road Less Traveled Guide
Emery County OHV Travel Map
Emery County Map DatabaseCultural History Report of the San Rafael Swell

 

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