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Exploring Irish Canyon

Irish Canyon


Irish Canyon is a relatively small, remote and highly scenic canyon. Twelve of the twenty-two geological formations found in the eastern end of the Uintah Mountains occur here. The Irish Canyon ACEC information sign photobeginning of the canyon is not more than 50 yards wide with steep walls with layers of red, green, and gray.  Outlaws such as Butch Cassidy and Wild Bunch, Matt Warner, Isom Dart and others spent time in the Browns Park vicinity at the turn of the century. Irish Canyon is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) for its outstanding scenery, rare plant communities and geology. This semi-arid country supports sagebrush and pinyon-juniper woodlands with several rare plant communities. Summers are generally warm and dry with cool nights. Elevations range from 6100 to 8636 feet.

Access: From Maybell, Colorado on U.S. highway 40 turn northwest onto Colorado Highway 318 to Moffat County Road 10N (41 miles) which runs through Irish Canyon (4.5 miles from Colorado 318).

Vehicle Use: Vehicle use is limited to designated roads and trails. No cross country vehicle use is allowed.

Camping: The campground is located in the middle of the canyon. It has 6 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, and a pit toilet. There is no water available in the area.

Irish Canyon photoHiking: There are no developed trails, but hiking is available to the west to Limestone Ridge and Cold Spring Mountain and to the east to Vermillion Canyon and the colorful badlands along Vermillion Creek.

Mountain Biking: Primitive roads to the east and west provide excellent Mountain biking opportunities to view the region particularly on Cold Spring Mountain.

Wildlife: The Irish Canyon area provides excellent opportunities to view mule deer, pronghorn and occasionally other inhabitants such as coyote, badger, fox and marmot. Many species of upland birds inhabit the area including golden eagle, turkey vulture, gray jay, dove, and chukar.

Irish Canyon Rock Art Site: This Day Use site is located at the southern end of the canyon. Interpretive exhibits are provided to give you an opportunity to learn more about the Fremont culture and their artwork. Facilities on site include: a pit toilet, picnic tables, an accessible trail and an elevated platform to make it easier to view the rock art. Across the street from the main viewing site is a short interpretive hiking trail to additional petroglyphs.

Maps:  BLM Canyon of Lodore Color Quad (scale=1:100,000) available from BLM. USGS Topographic Map (scale=1:24,000) Irish Canyon, is available from the USGS.

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