Carbon County, Utah, also known as Castle Country, offers an adventure at every turn.
Castle Country has something for the whole family to enjoy this summer. This region offers multiple state parks, reservoirs, hiking trails and access to the Manti-LaSal Mountains. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the fun.
Scofield State Park
Situated high in the Manti-LaSal Mountains you’ll find Scofield State Park. Popular year-round for a variety of activities, Scofield offers fishing, boating, camping and hiking opportunities along with a rich history.
In the 1870s, settlers drawn to the large tracts of grazing land came to Pleasant Valley. The park got the Scofield name from General Charles W. Scofield, a timber contractor who eventually became the president of Utah’s first coal mining company.
In the 1920s, when mining peaked in the area, Scofield had 12 stores, 13 saloons, four large hotels and a population of more than 6,000. Now, the town houses fewer than 100 residents.
This rural feel is one reason Scofield remains a favorite getaway. The secluded location allows visitors to sit back, relax, and enjoy the reservoir without the hustle and bustle associated with other parks located next to larger cities.
The 2017 season at Scofield has opened with high water levels. The park’s full reservoir means even more water for anglers to cast their lines into as they attempt to reel in cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and tiger trout. Lots of water also means great boating opportunities – just don’t forget your life jackets!
Scofield is also popular because it offers a traditional camping experience – there are two campgrounds right near the reservoir.
Mountain View Campground is near the dam and offers incredible views of the lake as it’s built on a shoreline terrace. The campsites at Mountain View are ideal for smaller trailers or tents.
Madsen Bay Campground is on the northern shoreline and has recently been renovated with electric and water utilities. Its campsites are larger and are paved to accommodate even big camping trailers.
Historic Helper, The Gateway to Castle Country
With a rich history and a vibrant culture, the downtown Main Street area in Helper, Utah is back like you’ve never seen it before. The area is undergoing a revitalization and with a $25 million dollar infrastructure rebuild just completed, many artists, coffee shops, restaurants and other attractions now call Historic Helper home.
The name “Helper” stems from the historic railyard and the “helper” steam engines that were used there. These engines were attached to trains traveling to Northern Utah to assist with the steep terrain in Price Canyon.
Today, this rich history is preserved in the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. Here, visitors can explore a basement mine where the famous Butch Cassidy once stood and examine historic mining equipment and trainers. If you visit, make sure to check out the Helper Train Mosaic.
Helper is also becoming well-known for the fun festivals it hosts throughout the year. June visitors will love the Helper Outlaw Car Show and Cruise where Mustangs, Corvettes, Chevelles and other sweet rides can be seen on display and cruising around.
The third weekend in August brings with it the Helper Arts and Music Festival. Over 65 booths offer a variety of arts and crafts for sale, so you’re sure to find something unique. There are also plays, musicals theater shows, and even dancing and live music. Be sure to sample some of the mouthwatering food and drinks while you browse some of the best art in the Intermountain West.
Castle Country Trail System
Whether you’re looking to lace up your hiking shoes, peddle a mountain bike or gas up your OHV, the Castle County Trail System has a trail for your discipline that is sure to quench your thirst for adventure.
Good, old-fashioned hiking is a great way to experience the outdoors and Castle County has amazing trails. Explore Price Canyon for some spectacular views and a quick 1.75 mile hike perfect for picnicking and nature watching.
For a longer hike, the 10-mile Fish Creek Trail is open to both hikers and bicyclists as well as the occasional equestrian traveler. Though lengthy, this trail has a gentle downhill slope that is well-maintained and easy to follow. For the best views around, hike Castle Valley Ridge where you’ll find breathtaking vistas of the desert landscape.
For the mountain bikers out there, Castle Country boasts an 11-month riding season with a variety of trails ranging from tight single-track to open forest areas. Popular trails in the area include Luke’s Trail, Wattis/Cove Loop, Trestle Loop and the Fish Creek Trail mentioned above. With a cooler climate than other desert biking destinations, Castle County is an ideal destination year-round.
Carbon County is also home to over 250 miles of designated OHV and ATV trails. These trail systems expand across the entire county and range from beginner tracks to expert trails with technical terrain. Here you can explore waterfalls, old mining sites, ghost towns, rock art and more.
Visitors have access to free trail maps of all of these areas. Pick one up in person at the Carbon County Office of Tourism or on the Castle Country Trail System website.
Six Gun Cowboy Fun
Utah is a western destination famous worldwide for its cowboy legends and outlaw lore and the people of Castle County have embraced this history. For a true out-west cowboy experience, visit the North Springs Shooting Range just 15 miles south of Price.
The range is home to the famous Cowboy Action Town: a complete replica of an old west town with 15 false front buildings and shooting bays. Here, visitors can shoot at over 300 steel targets and even watch some experienced Cowboy Action shooters take aim with traditional black-powder weapons.
Venture beyond Cowboy Action Town to the other ranges found at North Springs. Ranges include pastorale, archery, law enforcement and Long Range areas. The Long Range has 1000, 600, and 100 yard areas with 50 covered benches.
For hours, directions and more information, visit the North Springs Shooting Range website.
Pleasant Valley Days in Scofield
Join in the fun this June 30 and July 1 for the Pleasant Valley Days, a town event with activities for all ages.
There’s a great dinner Friday night and on Saturday you can enjoy a delicious breakfast followed by the Parade. The day features tons of fun and entertainment including a big raffle. There will also be the popular Little Miss Pleasant Valley Days Pageant. Admission is free, so have your talent ready and be prepared to strut your stuff.
The festivities conclude with fireworks on the lake and dancing at the Pavilion. Learn more at the Pleasant Valley Days' website.
Whether you’re visiting for the gorgeous trails, the historic tales or the fun events scattered throughout the summer season, there’s never been a better time to go adventuring in Carbon County. To learn more and start planning your adventure, visit stateparks.utah.gov/parks/scofield.