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Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News
Riders check out some of the sights on the Piute ATV Trail, which runs through Beaver County as well as other Utah counties.

Diversity would probably be one of the best ways of describing the recreational opportunities inside Beaver County lines.

There are high mountains to the east, desert to the west, boating and fishing opportunities close to the center and a ghost town that would, if intact, be the county's most populated community.

What you know:

Along the eastern borders of the county runs Fishlake National Forest, which comes with some of the state's highest peaks.

That depends, of course, on how one measures the distance from top to bottom. The elevation from the town of Beaver (5,860 feet) and the top of nearby Delano Peak (elevation 12,173 feet), would give it one of the greatest vertical rises in the state with a difference of 6,313 feet.

Then, of course, there is nearby Belknap Peak located right on the eastern border that stands 12,139 feet.

Both of the peaks just happen to be located within the 262-mile-long loop of the Piute ATV Trail, which runs through several adjoining counties.

Beaver, like several other townships, has taken the trail to heart and has made use of the high country trails both easy and convenient for visitors.

There are designated roads, for example, within town that lead directly to the trail that ATV riders can legally use.

Which means, said Brent Stapely with the Beaver County Travel Council, "People can ride their machines into town, stop at stores and shops, dine in fine restaurants and sleep in comfortable beds, then go directly back out onto the trail without having to trailer their machines.

"And, along with the main trail, there are hundreds of miles of roads and trails designated for off-highway vehicles."

Fishing is one of the popular activities within the county. There is one major reservoir and seven mountain lakes accessible in the summer, four of those holding brook trout, long considered one of the more popular sport fish in Utah.

Minersville Reservoir, west of Beaver, is being managed these days as a trophy fishery. Fishermen can use only artificial flies and lures and are allowed to keep only one trout, and it must be over 22 inches.

On the southeastern tip of the reservoir is Minersville State Park offering camping, picnicking and a launch ramp for boats.

One of the better known mountain waters is Puffer Lake, located a few miles past the Elk Meadows Ski Resort east of Beaver. This is a circular, midsize lake located in the heart of timber country. The lake will take small boats, but most of the fishing is from shore.

The lake is located in the Fishlake National Forest, so it is a very scenic drive through beautiful mountain country and to the shoreline. Other fishable lakes include Kents and Andrew Meadow.

Within the town of Beaver is the Territorial Courthouse and Museum, which is open in the summer. A number of very interesting items can be found in the museum, including the flag that flew over the USS Utah when it was hit in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Along with being able to see the flag, there is a story behind the flag and how it got to the town of Beaver.

One of the noted residents of the town was Philo T. Farnsworth, known as the father of modern television. Outside the courthouse is a statue of Farnsworth that is identical to the one that is located in Washington, D.C. In the museum is a display dedicated to Farnsworth's work that includes one of the earliest TV sets.

The Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway runs east of town along U.S. 153. The road terminates at the Elk Meadows Ski Area, formerly Mount Holly/Elk Meadows and before that simply Mount Holly, named after a nearby mountain. The resort has been closed for the past few years, but all signs point to it eventually reopening. The resort was known as a great family retreat both in the winter and summer.

The scenic drive is considered one of the state's hidden jewels and is ideal for those who like to hike, camp and mountain bike.

This is an especially beautiful drive in the fall.

What you don't know:

Minersville State Park — located 12 miles west of Beaver — is one of the best-kept secrets in Utah. Campsites, facilities, clean water and wind make this a windsurfer's paradise. Surfers can check out the wind readings on the Internet for Milford, which is east of the reservoir.

West of the town of Milford, along U-21 in the San Francisco Mountains, is what remains today of the town of Frisco, which once held a population of more than 4,000 people, said Stapely.

Still standing are some of the kilns used in the processing of gold and silver.

The San Francisco Mountains also hold herds of wild horses that freely roam the area. Estimates are that the mountains hold upwards of 250 horses.

A little farther to the west, roughly 54 miles from Milford along U-21, is the Indian Peaks Wildlife Management Area. The area, which covers more than 10,000 acres, is made up of pinyon/juniper woodlands with a mix of mountain brush and open meadows.

A creek flows through the northern reaches of the area.

This is a popular area with hunters in the fall for deer and elk, and there are two ponds along the creek holding rainbow trout. People visit the area in the fall to collect pine nuts and in the winter, with a cutting permit in hand, to collect a Christmas tree.

Four times a year the town hosts horse races. Owners of quarter horses and thoroughbreds bring their steeds to town to run on the oval track. Races are held on Memorial Day, in June, July 24th and again in August.

Another popular viewing event on July 24 is the Pioneer Cruisers Car Show, which draws vehicles of all ages, models and makes. Last year there were more than 100 vehicles entered.

While Circleville gets credit for being the place where Butch Cassidy was raised, not many realize that he was born in Beaver.

Each year now, the town holds Butch Cassidy Days. This year the event will be June 30 and July 1. Among the activities will be a pie-eating contest, mountainman camp, a meatball cook-off and a hog-calling contest.

And, for the first time, said Stapely, there will be a lumberjack show, complete with ax throwing and wood chopping.

The town of Beaver is home to one of the first golf courses in southern Utah. The nine-hole course is both challenging and picturesque.

A few miles outside of the town of Beaver, along U.S. 153, next to the road, are a number of ice caves, some big enough to allow upwards of three people to stand and be cooled. Early residents used to store their fresh game in the caves to cool before heading home. There is a map at the U.S. Forest Service office in town pinpointing their location.

A little west of Beaver and east of Milford, in the Mineral Mountains, is a unique picnic area frequented by the locals. One of the attractive sights is the unique rock formations in the area. This spot is particularly popular in the fall when the leaves begin to turn colors.

Rockhounding in the desert lands west of Milford is yet another activity.

No question, Beaver County is not without its recreational activities, diverse as they may be.


Beaver County

Well known: Minersville Reservoir, ATV Trail, Scenic Byway

Unknown: Wild horses, Frisco ghost town, wildlife area

Contact: 435-438-2975; www.beavercountyutah.com

Next week: Carbon County


E-mail: [email protected]