The trail passes four picnic grounds from Copleys Cove upstream
to Pistol Rock. The cool shade of the cotton woods and the babbling
of the creek make this stretch of the canyon a favorite picnicking
area. Because of this use, there can be considerable traffic along
this segment of the trail. Near Pistol Rock picnic ground the rocks
are contorted and in places stand vertically. The folding of the
rocks resulted from the collision of two continental plates, forming
a range of high mountains in this area about 70 million years ago.
The front of this mountain range is still visible a short distance
up the trail.
Near Pistol Rock picnic ground the trail enters several switchbacks
as it climbs out of the canyon along the steep north side. Leaving
the lush vegetation of the stream bottom the trail winds past stands
of pinyon juniper and mountain mahogany. At first the rocks are
brown quartzite, these give way to black shells that are easily
eroded, and these in turn give way to grey limestone. This is the
core of the ancient mountain range that once occupied this site.
About a mile and a half beyond the canyon bottom the trail comes
out on a promontory that affords spectacular views up and down the
canyon. Across the canyon the rocks are grey limestones similar
to the ones at the overlook. However, the red cliffs to the east
are composed of cobbles and boulders, the debris shed from the ancient
mountains. The contact between the red and grey rocks is an ancient
landscape that has been buried for about 70 million years.
After half a dozen more switchbacks the trail breaks onto the
gentler ground of the ridge top. It continues to climb, but the
gradient is gentler. Here the thin red soils support grasslands
interspersed with clumps of mountain mahogany and of aspen. As the
trail nears the junction with the main Paiute Trail there are views
of parallel trenches across the hillsides. These were constructed
in the 1960's to retard flood runoff from this land, which had been
denuded by overgrazing around the turn of the century. Then just
before the junction there are views of Beehive Peak to the east
and the Sevier River Valley beyond.
From the Bear Hollow Road southward to White Pine Peak the trail
alternates between open sage meadows and cool groves of aspen, spruce,
and fir. Since the ridge top is fairly narrow, there are sweeping
panoramas from the meadows. Here one can see all the mountain ranges
traversed by the Paiute ATV Trail.
At the turn to White Pine Peak the trail starts down the southern
leg of the Fillmore Loop. About a half a mile along this road there
is a branch to the north that leads to White Pine Peak, a radio
facility at 10,215 feet with sweeping views of the surrounding valleys.
The south branch of the road is the south leg of the Fillmore Loop,
which continues on down the mountain. At places the road is relatively
steep, gravely, and has sudden turns so caution is necessary to
keep the vehicle in control. Near the top the vegetation is spruce
and fir trees with clumps of aspen. This gives way to aspen, then
mountain mahogany, then oak brush before breaking out onto the sagebrush
slopes above Fillmore.
Along this leg of the Fillmore Loop there are several grassy
clearings that would make good camping spots. In one clearing there
is an old rain gage that was used to measure the amount of precipitation
needing control by the watershed protection trenches. After breaking
out onto the gentler and more open lower slopes of the mountain
the trail provides views west to Pahvant Valley, which was once
flooded by Lake Bonneville, and east to spectacular yellow rock
outcrops. From there the loop is completed by following county roads
continued next page
Thursday, December 09, 2010