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Blurred version of the feature image used to fill empty space behind the feature image Driving our Jeep on a remote stretch of the Original Pony Express Trail Scenic Byway

Pony Express Route: Northwest Utah Road Trip Day 3

  • Written by Lindsey Huster
  •  / 
  • 6 min read
  •  / 
  • Last updated 2 months ago

What a great weekend away this was turning out to be!  We experienced surprises with these interesting locations and even managed to take care of a flat tire.  Catch up here if you missed the last two posts:

Driving on the Pony Express Route

One of our main goals for this entire trip was to drive a section of the Original Pony Express Route, which happens to take us less than an hour from our house!  We were looking forward to this part of the trip and I honestly thought it would be the highlight of the trip. It was fantastic!! However, it was pretty hard to top the sites we’d already visited in the last two days.  This is the guide we used: Road Trip: West Desert Ramble and the Pony Express

Check out our video

Pony Express Trail

Information about the Pony Express Trail

Check out these and more facts about the Pony Express at Utah.com | Pony Express Trail

  • St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA
  • Distance: 1900 miles
  • Stations: 190 (peak operation)
  • Horses: 420 (peak)
  • Riders: 80 (peak)
  • Average Speed: 7 miles per hour
  • Average Time: 10 days
  • Fastest time: 7-1/2 days (Lincoln’s Inaugural Message)
  • Distance per Rider: 60-120 miles each
  • William C. “Buffalo Bill” Cody: Rode 322 miles in 21 hours and 40 minutes using 21 horses.
  • Rider Salary: $120-$125 per month
One of many informational signs posted along the Pony Express Trail
One of many informational signs posted along the Pony Express Trail
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Driving the Pony Express Route

Keith and I both were surprised at the varied landscape along the drive.  There was desert dirt and sand that changed quickly to lush green farmland.  Every once in a while a small community with several houses would pop up.  Then, all of a sudden we even drove right up next to a small airplane! We were completely shocked to see that along the trail!  Around that time we also began to wonder if we were still on the trail or trespassing on the farm/ranch roads. It was not something we expected to see so far out and indeed we were still on the Pony Express Route.

Although we rarely encountered another vehicle along the trail, there would typically be a few as we’d get closer to a point of interest though.  We did see a couple of motorcycles, a few ATVs, and several vehicles towing campers. I kept wondering what adventures and destinations these other people were seeking and if they wondered the same thing about us.

There were site markers along the drive and sometimes we would stop and read about what used to be there, but there really isn’t anything to look at.  Often times we’d slow down enough to see what area we were in, but didn’t get out at every stop.

Driving our Jeep over a mountain pass along the Pony Express Trail
Driving our Jeep over a mountain pass along the Pony Express Trail

Catching a dust devil on the dashcam

As Keith was driving, it is really important for him to keep his eyes on the road even though it may seem as if no one is around.  Twists and turns can appear out of nowhere even when the road seems never-ending. Other drivers can sometimes be seen for miles in the distance, mainly due to the trail of dust behind them, but every once in a while a car might seemingly appear and sometimes these roads aren’t very wide.  Anyhow, as Keith was driving I was looking off into the distance for animals and dust devils. Sometimes you can see dust devils miles away and it’s always fun to spot them.

We were not focusing on documenting this trip for the blog/vlog and didn’t even have the GoPro with us.  We did however capture the drive from the trip on a dashcam and were taking photos, hence the decision to create a post/vlog.  I never really got any good photos of the dust devils, but looking back at the dashcam now I’m so excited that a couple of these were caught on video!  Be sure to check out the video above!

A large dust devil spins up on the road in front of our Jeep
A large dust devil spins up on the road in front of our Jeep
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Searching for gems at the Dugway Geode Beds

Keith and I heard about the Dugway Geode Beds and were excited to explore this area in hopes of finding something awesome! We read just a little bit of what to expect while rockhounding. We knew we weren’t serious enough to rent equipment as we read about it, but we were hoping to stumble upon a small geode that could be taken as a souvenir.

It was fun to look around the area and while we did see some interesting rocks and fragments, nothing warranted taking home with us. We didn’t spend too much time at the geode beds.  If we find ourselves in the area again, we would love to try and find something for collecting.

Encountering wild horses

Keith and I heard from locals and even saw information on the news about the herds of wild horses near the Onaqui Mountains. Some say you are nearly guaranteed a view of these wild mustangs and others told us how this used to be the case, but now the herds are much smaller, thus making your chances of viewing a herd much less likely.

We had a grand vision of seeing this up close and although we weren’t near the heard, we did spot a rather large group way off in the distance. I noticed something and thought maybe I was seeing something of importance so Keith stopped.  I used the camera zoom to get a better look. Immediately I knew it was horses!  As I scanned through the camera lens I saw an even larger line of horses further back. It was a cool experience and we both felt lucky to see this herd, even if it was from a distance.

A group of wild horses is off in the distance
A group of wild horses is off in the distance
Zooming in on the group of wild horses
Zooming in on the group of wild horses
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A trail sign describing the groups of wild horses in the area
A trail sign describing the groups of wild horses in the area

What a surprise!

This sure was a great road trip to take for a long weekend! Located only a couple hours from our house and provided us with learning experiences, artwork, and lots of fun! This was a great adventure for us and now Keith was ready to start his new job!

We took this trip over a year ago and I’m happy to report that Keith is loving this job! He works with a great team using technologies that he’s very interested in!

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