Rector / Dragon Trail
After unloading at "Duck Rock" riders will take a relaxing 15 mile ride on a gravel road through the rugged but beautiful Book Cliffs to the historic mining town of Dragon. From here you will take a ride up Dragon Canyon and down Rector Ridge. Along the way you will pass through what's left of the ghost towns of Rector and Dragon and the old gilsonite mine that once employed the people that lived there. If you are afraid of heights, don't look down, these mines can be close to 1,000 feet deep!
Ghost Town History:
Gilsonite is an almost pure form of hydrocarbon. Most people have never heard of Gilsonite. But most people encounter it's use or benefit from its use on an almost daily basis, even today. Most newspapers in the USA and Europe use Gilsonite in the ink they are printed with. It's used to insulate pipe in extreme outdoor environments. It's used in the manufacture of steal and road building. And the only place that it is found is in the Uintah Basin.
The area's boom in the early 1900s with the mining of Gilsonite and the Uintah Railroad. The town of Dragon in particular prospered as the main town until In 1911 when the railway was extended to Watson replacing Dragon as the principle Uintah Basin terminus for the freight and passengers. From 1916 to 1925, these towns were on the verge of an industrial development. Several oil companies made arrangements with the federal government for the use of large beds of oil shale near Watson. But in 1926, the federal government put an abrupt end to all plans for the reduction of oil shale by Executive Order from President Coolidge.
Watson, Dragon, Rainbow and the Uintah Railway all died with the Rainbow Mine, leaving almost total inactivity in the Gilsonite mines south of the White River after 1938. Today, not much remains at these historic ghost towns.
The Book Cliffs, historic and abandoned gilsonite mines, old dugouts, bread ovens, and some wildlife.
Difficulty: 4 ( may have some wash crossings difficulty 5 )
Trailering required. Please park in the designated staging area at Western Park Arena. It will take approximately 45 minutes to get to the Duck Rock Trail Head. See the staging map here
Vault Toilet at Massey Junction (usually where you will eat lunch)