A Sunday Drive to Utah’s Lowest Spot
Over the past few weeks here in southern Utah, much needed moisture has been falling. Here in St. George and in the lower elevations it’s come in the form of rain but as you drive north into higher elevations, the rain quickly turns to snow.
Since most people prefer to avoid driving in snow, for our Sunday Drive this week, we though we’d feature the spot in Utah where you’re least likely to encounter snow and freezing temperatures – Utah’s lowest spot at the bottom of the Beaver Dam Wash on the Utah/Arizona state line.
On the Utah side of the state line lies the Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area. The landscape here differs greatly from most of the rest of southwestern Utah. It’s more of what one might think of as typical to Nevada. It’s lower in elevation and is the transition zone between the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin.
"Its creosote bush, white bursage, and other desert shrubs grow at lower elevations and provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and the Mojave Desert tortoise, a threatened species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Joshua trees and dense stands of blackbrush cover the slopes of the Beaver Dam Mountains, which rise along the eastern boundary of the NCA. Surface water flows in the upper reaches of Beaver Dam Wash, but rarely travels all the way through the NCA. Riparian vegetation along the stream channel is important habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. At this time, there are no developed recreation facilities in the NCA” according to the NCA’s website.
You can also learn more about the arrows that still exist across the United States and their history at https://www.blm.gov/visit/beaver-dam-wash-national-conservation-area
To get there you’ll need a four-wheel drive or a side-by-side – or do a bit of hiking.
If you head up Old Highway 91 out of Beaver Dam, you’ll take a left onto the Old Mormon Wagon Trail just under a mile north of the state line. It’s a dirt road but it’s nothing an SUV or other vehicle with good clearance can’t handle in dry conditions. Head west for about five miles until you hit the Beaver Dam Wash. You can drive the two miles north right up the wash to the state line and Utah’s lowest spot but the “road” here is just the bottom of the wash so four-wheel-drive (or hiking shoes) are a must.