The Spirit Railroad site is located approximately 35 miles east of Castle Dale on the SITLA’s 31,000-acre Cedar Mountain Block, which is managed by the agency on behalf of Utah’s public school system.
SITLA employees and volunteers installed directional signs to the historic site, and constructed buck and rail fencing to create a designated parking area. They also installed a kiosk structure to hold informational and interpretive panels to educate visitors about this historic site.
As its name implies, Spirit Railroad refers to a railroad line that was never completed. In 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande Railway began building a narrow-gauge rail line through the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to Utah.
From Green River, the railroad would travel through Cottonwood Wash and Buckhorn Flat to the Castle Valley Junction, located east of Huntington.
From the junction, the rail line would divide with one route traveling south through Castle Valley and continuing down Salina Canyon. The other branch would head north through Price Canyon.
Although construction began almost immediately on the route between Castle Valley Junction to Green River, it would never be completed. However, the Spirit Railroad grade can be traced across Buckhorn Flat and down Cottonwood Wash.
Stewardship of trust lands for long-term revenue production is a significant component of the SITLA management plan. Since 1994, SITLA has generated in excess of $1.5 billion and been involved in numerous transactions and projects that have protected more than 560,000 acres of Utah land, an area equivalent to the combined acreage of Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks.