Oquirrh Drive

Today I decided to take a drive out to an old mining town in the Oquirrh Mountains west of Salt Lake valley.  Ages ago while in college, I had driven from Salt Lake City to what was then an old ghost town known as Ophir.  It was time to return.

On the way out I made a stop in Fairfield at the old Fairfield Inn and Pony Express Park.  The colors had not really started to change there yet, but the light was nice.  Here is a photo of the Fairfield Inn.

Fairfield Inn Oct 2020
This is the old Fairfield Inn Hotel that has been refurbished.  It was one of the nicer stops along this section of the old Pony Express Route.

The little town of Fairfield has quite an interesting  history.  It was originally settled in 1855 and was known as Frogtown.  The settlement’s population swelled considerably in 1858 with the arrival of the US Army under the command of Albert Johnston.  The adjoining military base known as Camp Floyd was as that time the largest military base in the United States.  The base was established to put down a rebellion by the Mormon settlers who had come to Utah under the leadership of Brigham Young, an early Mormon leader and polygamist.  The skirmish which has become known as the Utah War resulted in around 38 casualties.

However, many miles south in southern Utah, a Mormon uprising against people trekking the trails westward to California resulted in deaths of 120 civilians in September of 1857.  The Mormons conspired with the local Southern Paiute native tribe and massacred a wagon train of settlers from Arkansas who were on the way westward.  They killed pretty much everyone — men, women and children.  So, now you can understand why the United States government ordered such a large military contingent to a little town in the middle of Utah.  If you ever stop here, visit by the old Fairfield cemetery; it is quite interesting.

Cayman - Fairfield Inn
Here is my Cayman GTS parked at the Fairfield Inn

Anway, after my short pit stop at the park, I traveled onward to Ophir, and old mining town on the west side of the Oquirrh Mountains that lie across the west side of the Salt Lake Valley and in the northern part of Utah Valley.

Boy was I surprised by what I saw!  Back in the later 1970’s Ophir was essentially a ghost town with a couple of leftover buildings and a handful of residents.  Today, I couldn’t even find a parking spot in the town.  There is a new restaurant/pub, and numerous nice homes.  The ghost town has become new community. 

After a couple of passes through town looking for a spot to park, I decided to head back down the canyon.  About a mile out of town I sawa spot to pull off the road, and  I found some nice fall colors along the dry creek bed that runs down the canyon.

Fall Foliage - Ophir Canyon wp
Looking west down Ophir Canyon, just west of town.

OK, Ophir was a big disappointment.  I was expecting to go explore a little around an old ghost town and ended up in what is now essentially a new Tooele County neighborhood.  So, I drove down the canyon back to UT 73, and decided to continue onward northwest to Rush Valley and Fisher Pass.

This drive out to Rush Valley is pretty uneventful and not super interesting although one does get some nice views of Deseret Peak and the surrounding mountains.  However, just west of Rush Valley on UT 199, the road starts up the next canyon and turns into one of the absolute best driving roads imaginable.  The little road becomes this undulating, twisting ribbon of asphalt topping out at over 6000 feet at Fisher Pass, part of the old Lincoln Highway.

This is the kind of road for which the Porsche Cayman was designed. I haven’t been out here since the early spring, and I had forgotten how much fun that Porsche can be on such a twisty road. What a rush!

Cayman - Fisher Pass Oct 2020 wp
Here is my Porsche Cayman GTS on top of Fisher Pass on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

Well, it was really nice to get out ot town for awhile, get some sunshine, take a few pictures and drive the car like she was meant to be driven. Ophir was a little disappointing, but all in all it was a great day. I really hope my little autumn adventure brightened your day. It did mine. And as always, I really appreciate you taking time to visit my blog.

Best wishes to you all!

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