The Pit ‘n Pole

This one’s a classic. The Pit ‘n Pole has seen a whole lot of telescopes over the years. If you venture here on a dark, clear summer night, you will probably have company. It is at the edge of the west desert in Rush Valley. It’s far enough from Utah Valley that there is little impact from the light dome there. Salt Lakes lights are present in the north north east, but not to a high degree. This is a good, dark spot when you need one. It’s probably ok to take a car here, but you may want a little better ground clearance for a couple of spots. These directions are adapted from those found on the Salt Lake Astronomical Society website.

From I-15 get off at exit 278 and take Pioneer Crossing.

Make no turn offs and just stay on Pioneer Crossing until it turns into Cedar Fort Rd going west. The Hwy signs change from Hwy 173 to Hwy 73.  Continue on this road for about 10 miles to reach Cedar Fort.

The road will run south for 5 miles to Fairfield. When you get to Fairfield note the turn off to Camp Floyd but don’t get on it. From the Camp Floyd turn off check your mileage and follow the highway around the bend and go 4.7 miles from the Camp Floyd turn off up the hill. If it is dark when you are following these directions, you may not notice it is a long gentle hill.

At 5-mile pass you should see motorcycles and 4-wheelers having a good time (if it’s light, in the dark you won’t see anything) As you top the hill at 5-mile pass you will see the a sign marking the county line between Utah County and Tooele county. The road then slopes down and curves to the North (right). From the County line go 3/10ths of a mile and turn left onto a dirt road.

As you turn onto the road look at your odometer and figure out what it will be in 4.2 miles. Go west for 4.2 – 4.3 miles. You will know that you are almost there when the road turns slightly to the left (about 4 miles) and then there is a small rise in the road. After the rise, the road dips and about 100 yards or so later is another rise. Turn left (South) on the road that takes off at the top of that second rise.

Go south 4/10ths of a mile and as the road bends to the right there will be another dirt road, obscured by sage brush until you are right on it, going to the west (right). Take that road west 3/10ths of a mile until you see a pole sticking out of the ground with a pit near by. You have arrived.

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