A previous Red Cliffs article provides an overview of the east wilderness and disclaimers about the silty dirt road are mentioned. The Stormont Silver Mill is located at the end of the lengthy rough dirt road on the banks of the Virgin River, so this journey is best done with a capable vehicle. If rain is forecasted it may be best to cancel the trip, because the fine iron oxide sugar sand silt in this region can turn into deep impassable mud. Fortunately blue skies are the norm in this region and the cool weather seasons are best for leaving the vehicle behind to do a lengthy hike.
There are several hiking trails in the Red Cliffs East Wilderness and some go to historic old west mining camps. The Toquerville Mine and Babylon Mining Camp trails are the most popular, simply because the geology is fascinating to experience. This mining district is composed of blazing red sandstone and massive ancient lava flows. This mining district is also one of the very few that can boast silver ore being found in sandstone. Ancient erosive forces during a period tectonic plate mountain building were likely the cause of large amounts of silver being deposited in sandstone instead of hard bedrock, where this mineral is usually found.
The Stormont Mill is where the ore from the local silver mines was processed. This mill originally incorporated the local crystalized basalt columns into the building design, since it was a readily available material. Water from the Virgin River powered the old original silver mill, which is located on the river bank. Some of the original basalt building materials can still be seen, along with the stress concrete foundations that came at a later date.
On the downside, the Stormont Mill is a place where people go to waste spray paint and the graffiti is out of control. Other than that, it is best to watch one's own step since old mining sites tend to be hazardous. The views of the towering cliffs composed of crystalized basalt are fascinating to see and the gentle flow of the Virgin River definitely is an invitation for an afternoon picnic. The Stormont Silver Mill certainly is a nice reward for taking on the long dusty ride!
Leave no trace!
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*This website will be going through renovations soon. Separate destination articles will be combined after the videos replace the outdated photo gallery system. As many readers know, most of the writing was done on the fly while camping, so many articles read like a rough draft. The articles will be cleaned up and edited. Many of the old photos were straight out of the camera due camping limitations as well, so you will finally see full living color images, just like in the new videos. Another goal is to make navigating the index pages easier and condensing the articles will help. This website will continue into the future and your patience is greatly appreciated!
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