A dry, corrugated range, the Dugway Mountains are a single curved ridgeline gouged by canyons trending east and west. At the north end of the ridge, Castle Mountain rises to 6,700 feet and is the highest peak in the range. Scenic and seldom visited, this 23,100-acre area provides interesting day hikes where a visitor is unlikely to see another person.

Access to the Dugway Mountains is provided by the graveled Pony Express Road, which passes along the south boundary of the area. Two little-used dirt roads leave the Pony Express road at points about 14 and 20 miles east of the Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge boundary. These roads form a loop around the Dugway Mountains.

Panoramic Views

The rugged Dugway crestline offers panoramic views of the Great Salt Lake Desert and mountain ranges stretching into the distance in every direction. At the highest elevations the Dugways are covered mostly with juniper and sage, while the lower hillsides are speckled with blackbrush, shadscale, winterfat, and greasewood. There are small mammals and upland game birds here as well as migrating raptors and an occasional deer.

North of the area proposed for wilderness there is heavy mining damage. In its intensive wilderness inventory, the BLM was uncharacteristically forceful in describe those impacts: "Mining remnants saturate the landscape; tunnels, adits, pits, shafts and dumps lie scattered as bones after the feast; unsteady buildings and newly posted claim markers remind that perhaps the banquet is not yet over." These impacts stop at the edge of the extent of the mineral deposits, which is also our proposed wilderness boundary.

The Utah Wilderness Coalition Proposal

The BLM invoked its own esoteric definitions of "outstanding solitude" and "primitive and unconfined recreation" to eliminate the Dugway Mountains from administrative consideration for wilderness designation. Yet a trip to the Dugway Range will show a visitor virtually nothing but primitive country and solitude. While low-level military overflights are frequent in the area, they do not disqualify these mountains from deserving wilderness designation (see Newfoundland Mountains). We propose an 23,100-acre wilderness. Fourteen miles of ways extend into the area but are seldom used and are insignificant intrusions upon the land.

Mike Medberry