This was a great exploration trip into a new area for me and my wife.
Friday May 22nd, 2009 was our opportunity to head into the higher elevations of the Owyhee Mountains and Silver City area. We loaded up the truck and headed for the Silver City Road. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that this road was paved for about eight miles as it travels south toward the Owyhee Front from the Highway 78 turnoff.
By 11:30 AM we jumped on our ATV and started down the road. The views along Silver City Road are amazing. The high peaks still semi-covered with snow provided a grand backdrop as we steadily gained elevation on our way south. The gravel road was in excellent shape for most of the way to Silver City. At the top of the pass below New York Summit, there was a 4-6 foot snowbank that was plowed through to allow easy passage even in a car. The road does get a little rougher from the summit down to Silver City but it's still passenger car friendly.
Silver City is a very cool "ghost town". In reality, this town appears to be reinventing itself as a tourist attraction and could be a great place if funding is found for restoration. I wish them luck and if anyone wants to sell an old building for a very reasonable price, I'd listen to an offer.
Once through this small town, we headed south along Jordan Creek. This road is fine for ATV's but is not vehicle friendly. It's also not a very long trip as we encountered a fence about 2 miles south of Silver City. This portion of the dirt road is quite scenic and was worth the trip down and back. We encountered some adventurous folks on ATV's all packed up for a mining session. They were probably headed up Silver Cord Gulch.
Along this portion of the road we saw an unusual thing. There were small piles of pine branches dotting the hillside and along Jordan Creek. While I understand thinning the trees along the creek, the numerous pine bough piles on the hillside is perplexing.
After traveling north back through Silver City we continued along Jordan Creek to a place we had to call Glitter Beach. This rather large turnout off the main road had its fair share of glittery rocks. We spend about 40 minutes looking around at the rock and wading in the creek before heading back for the day.
We took one side road that headed south off of the Silver City Road toward the Oro Fino Mine. But the elevation and northern exposure hasn't allowed the snow to melt and some pretty good snow drifts still exist. A few more adventurous ATV'er ahead of us powered through these but it was getting late so we turned around.
The drive back to our parking place was a little more sporting as groups of people were starting to head into the mountains for the long 3 day weekend. Interestingly enough, most of the vehicles we saw were from either Oregon or Utah. We arrived back at our truck on the Owyhee Front around 5:30 PM.
Details of Trip:Date: 22 May 2009 from 11:30 AM until 5:30PM
Photographers: Tim and Toni Bondy from Mountain Home, Idaho
Distance Traveled: About 40 miles - an out and back trip
Fun Factor: High
Scenic Factor: Very High
Exploration Factor: High
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