The Lincoln Highway in Basin and Range – Finishing the Day Trip from Salt Lake City

Leaving Orr’s Ranch I turned right (north) and then right again (east) to roughly follow the old LHW to its junction with the new Hwy 199.  For the most part the road leading from Orr’s Ranch to 199 is the second iteration of the Lincoln Highway in this area, dating to about 1919, but the old road does sometimes noodle off into the brush.

Hwy 199 is the main road east to Fisher Pass, named for the founding father of the Lincoln Highway, Carl Fisher, whose vision of an all-weather coast-to-coast highway drove early construction.

The road winds up a steady grade to the summit where there is a monument to Fisher.

Fisher Pass Monument

There is a large graded area near the monument so it is easy to stop and have a good look at the inscription. This wonderful memorial was the work of LHW enthusiast Rollin Southwell and you should take a minute or more to visit his site.

Devil’s Gate

Just a mile or so west of the summit is an area known as Devil’s Gate, which presented a major challenge to the builders. Here is the road as it was before being improved, with Henry Joy, the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association, exuberantly posed. The view is to the east.

Devil’s Gate

And here is that same location today, looking west, after ninety-three years of improvements:

Devil’s Gate 2012 – Looking West

To wind up the trip, continue east downgrade on 199 to Hwy 36 then north to Tooele and east on I-80 to Salt Lake City.

St. John

If you prefer you can take the route of the 1919 LHW by turning north into the settlement of St. John (40° 20.337’N 112° 27.654’W).

St. John 1919 Route (per Franzwa and Peterson)

If you are coming south from Tooele on Hwy 36, the turnoff to St. John is at the site of the old St. Station ( 40° 21.974’N 112° 24.645’W).

Next up: It’s time to continue west from Orr’s Ranch to Fish Springs (the J. J. Thomas Ranch), the tiny farming community of Callao, and see numerous Pony Express markers along the way. We will of necessity bypass the Dugway Proving Grounds (shhhhh – very hush hush) and visit Simpson Springs on the Pony Express Road. The story of Captain James H. Simpson, for whom the springs is named, is one worth telling. He was a topographical engineer who surveyed a route from S.L.C. to Genoa, Nevada in 1859.

Until then, travel wisely and safely.

Grover and Mr. Beasley

Mr. B, the Explorer

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