Friday, May 27, 2016

Fairview Museum of History and Art

    Two buildings make up the museum. A glass fronted modern building houses a few history exhibits, the works of local artists and a 95 % complete cast of a mamoth skeleton that was discovered in a nearby canyon. The other building is a 115 year old, former school which also served as a studio for sculptor Dr. Avard T Fairbanks. Three of Fairbank’s sculptures are in the US Capitol. The museum inherited many of Fairbank’s large plaster casts which are on display in both buildings.

   Donated items used by the early settlers are exhibited in the school building. Large farm equipment and vehicles are located outside. We’ve found that many of these small town museum often lack written information but usually the volunteers and staff are very friendly and will attempt to answer any question. We really enjoyed talking with everyone here. :- )



    The newer building is accessible. The school building is accessible on the first floor. The second floor is accessed by steps only. The outside exhibits have paved walkways and are accessible.

  RVs will fit in the parking areas.

Museum    39.62939, -111.43731


Price Canyon Recreation Area Campground

  This small BLM campground is accessed by a very steep 1 1/2 lane paved road with pull offs to allow oncoming traffic to pass. It’s not suitable for large RV or long trailers. Most of the parking areas are small and slanted. Amenities include a vault toilet, picnic tables, fire pits and trash cans.

The accessible site has a table with one bench seat cut down to accommodate a wheelchair and an elevated fire pit. It’s also has a path to the toilet but rough, loose gravel makes traveling along it difficult.


Campground    39.7602, -110.91651


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Western Mining & Railroad Museum

  Helper, named after the engines which helped haul westbound trains over the mountains to Salt Lake City, is located in the middle of the rich Utah coal fields. After coal was discovered in Carbon County in the 1880s small, isolated mining communities sprung up along many of the canyons. Miners and their families had a hard life contending with mine explosions and the loss of husbands, fathers and income; company housing; scrip (instead of money) which could be only used at the company store; low wages; and labor disputes. Since the coal company owned everything and the communities were so isolated miners had no control over their lives. Little is left of many of these communities. Mines closed, buildings were moved to other locations and families moved on to the next good coal seam.

  Helper, with a mixed ethnic population of almost 3,000 people by the 1930s, was a lively town in contrast to the staid Mormon cities on the other side of the mountain. Three blocks of Main Street housed bars, speakeasies, back room gambling and brothels. Illegal gambling and brothels brought business to the town well into the 1970s. Today many of the building are closed and empty but artists are moving in with the hope of revitalizing the downtown. 

The museum is located in the Old Helper Hotel building and the hotel rooms serve as museum galleries. The exhibits are kind of uneven with very good displays in some rooms and piles of donated items in others. Many old photographs of the mining communities show both everyday life and the tragic aftermath of mining accidents. Two displays of mining equipment are located outside, one in the museum courtyard and another in a little park at the museum parking lot. A paved trail starts at the parking lot and follows alongside Price River.

  All four floors of the museum are accessible but a few of the rooms have tight spots. The exhibits in the little park are accessible. We didn’t visit the courtyard displays because the sidewalks were in the process of being replaced. The trail is accessible but there are steep spots so wheelchair users may need to have help.


  The parking lot is too small for RVs but they can be parked along the side streets.

Museum    39.6827, -110.85492


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nine Mile Canyon Rock Art

  Nine Mile Canyon has the greatest concentration of rock art sites in the U.S. Many petroglyphs can be easily viewed from the road but spotting them is a little hard and there are few pull offs. Fortunately hardly anyone lives along the road and it’s possible to go very slowly. We did the drive on a Sunday to avoid truck traffic from the oil and gas companies who are drilling at the end of the canyon.


  The road, starting from US 191, is actually about 50 miles long. The first petroglyph can be found around mile 25. The BLM website is a bit out of date and their map doesn’t have a lot of the sites marked but this site has a pretty good map - American Southwest.  The drive along of the road is very scenic with old homesteads, green pastures and towering cliffs. Other things to see include a small Fremont village and granary ruins. Even if  you don’t take the time to search for all of the petroglyphs you’ll still be able to see some of the best examples. Daddy Canyon Picnic Area has a short trail and petroglyphs that can be viewed from the parking lot. The Great Hunt panel at mile 46 is a wonderful scene of a bighorn sheep hunt by the Fremont culture (AD 300 – 1350).

  The oldest petroglyphs are by the Fremont but there are also some by the Utes and early pioneers. Sadly a few have been marred or destroyed by gunshots and recent visitors adding their names and drawings.


  The road is completely paved and can be driven with a RV. There are two picnic areas but dispersed camping is prohibited. It is allowed two miles off of the canyon road but opportunities to exit the canyon road are few.

  It isn’t necessary to leave your vehicle to see many of the petroglyphs so this is a fairly accessible attraction. The Fremont village is not accessible due to a steep trail. The trail at Daddy Canyon is not accessible. The trail to the Great Hunt is accessible with help. It can also be seen from the road.

Canyon   39.54271, -110.68822


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Prehistoric Museum

  The museum has two sections, one focusing on the many types of dinosaur fossils found in Utah and the other on Native American artifacts and lifestyles dating from 13,000 years ago. Both are very nicely done.


   The museum is accessible with an elevator to the 2nd floor.

    The parking lot has long bus/ RV spaces.

Museum   39.60052, -110.8081


Sunday, May 22, 2016

John Wesley Powell River History Museum

  In mid-July 1869 when John Wesley Powell and his crew of explorers reached this spot on the Green River they were almost halfway through their mission to investigate and map the paths and canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers. They had already lost one boat, 1/3 of their supplies and one man had quit but Powell pushed on to finish the journey on August 29 at the mouth Virgin River in Nevada.

  The museum has a very good exhibit about Powell’s life and his geographic expeditions. Other exhibits cover early explorers of  southern Utah, the history of Green River, dinosaurs and river runners. Green River is famous for it’s sweet, juicy watermelons – don’t miss the giant melon outside!


  The museum is accessible.

  The parking lot is large enough for any RV.

Museum   38.99366, -110.14065


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve

  A one mile trail loops through a wetland ecosystem that supports over 200 species of birds, amphibians, and aquatic mammals. The trail is boardwalk and finely crushed stone.  It’s accessible but one short section follows the powerline road which may be muddy or rough making backtracking necessary.

The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Park as close to the trail entrance as possible because the parking lot is surfaced with large, loose gravel.

Preserve   38.57336, -109.57082


Museum of Moab

  Artifacts and displays cover the natural and human history of Moab and the surrounding area. The museum is fairly small but plans are underway for a new, larger museum.

  The second floor is accessed by steps only.

  The museum does not have a parking lot and the street parking in front of the museum is angled and too short for RVs. We parked a block north on E 100 N Street and walked/rolled to the museum. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition.

Museum   38.57321, -109.54828


Friday, May 20, 2016

Canyonlands National Park

   The junction of the Colorado and Green Rivers divides Canyonlands into three isolated sections – The Maze, The Needles, and Island in the Sky. The Maze can only be accessed by 4 wheel drive vehicles or rugged back country trails. Both The Needles and Island in the Sky have paved roads that dead end at the canyons plus hiking trails and 4 wheel drive roads.

  None of the trails are accessible so for visitors with mobility issues, Needles and Island in the Sky are scenic drives with stops at the viewpoints. The visitor centers are accessible.  Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument on the way to The Needles is accessible.


  Both The Needles and Island in the Sky have small, first come/first served campgrounds that fill early in the day. This isn’t a problem at The Needles because the BLM land just outside the park is open for dispersed camping. We found a beautiful spot on the slickrock (pictured below) along Lock Hart Road. However dispersed camping on BLM land outside of Island in the Sky is restricted to just a few areas to protect the land from overuse. We drove back to our spot on Willow Springs Road near Arches National Park after touring Island in the Sky.

  Most of the overlook parking lots have room for RVs.

Park   38.46026, -109.82061    Boondock   38.18852, -109.66962


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Arches National Park

  Arches National Park has the largest concentration of arches in the world. There are over 2.000 arches in the park but fewer than two dozen are easily accessible to the average visitor. The arches formed when a salt dome pushed the earth’s crust up, causing vertical cracks that eroded into fins. Freezing and thawing, wind and water caused more erosion to the center of the fins creating the arches.

  May is one of the busiest months in the park and we almost skipped it because of that. We’re so glad that we didn’t!  The park is opened 24 hours a day so early morning and evening visits are recommended. We went in after lunch, had no trouble finding parking spots and the traffic was fairly light.  It’s a good idea to check the entrance webcam before driving to the park. This is 10:00AM today- yikes!


  The accessibiliy information on the park website is pretty good. The visitor center is accessible. Most of views can be seen from the viewpoint parking areas. Park Avenue has a good paved trail. Balanced Rock trail is paved to a view point. Double Arch Trail, hard packed with one steep hill, allows wheelchair users a close up view. The trail to North and South Windows also allows a closer view. The trails to Wolfe Ranch and Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint are hard packed and accessible. Devils Garden Trail to Landscape Arch is listed as barrier free which I assume means accessible with help. We tried it and found a very steep, slippery hill and then loose sand. I don’t recommend trying to go to Landscape Arch but if you have a strong helper take the spur trail to Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. There’s one steep but short hill and it’s possible to get very close to Pine Tree Arch.

  All of the parking lots except for a few of the smallest pull offs have long RV parking spots.

  Reservations for the campground must be made months in advance but since BLM surrounds the park finding a boondocking spot is easy. Willow Springs Road, north of the park off of US 191, is easy to access but very popular so expect to share a spot.                  Challenge to our RTR buddies. Identify that white van!  :- )

  Wildflower season!

Park   38.61605, -109.62078      Boondock    38.69731, -109.69204