Devil’s Playground

I heard about this place called the Devil’s Playground in the west desert of Utah, just off the huge expanse of insanely flat desert terrain that separates highway 30 from the Great Salt Lake 60 miles away. It took a lot of searching on the web to only come up with a couple references to the Playground. They were on geocaching sites, and didn’t have any pics or references, but all I needed were coordinates to get down there and check it out. I took the dirt road to the west of highway 30 just after mile marker 24 and started exploring. It’s a relatively undiscovered area that rivals the City of Rocks which is located just 50 miles to the North. From the highway this area looks very unassuming. All you can see from the highway are the same hills and sagebrush you would drive past the entire trip there. Once you get off the road and start coming up the dirt road you get a little preview as you start climbing the hill of what lies ahead. The roads are pretty decent for the most part. They’re not suitable for cars, and in my 2WD Toyota Pickup I was able to get through all but one section on the roads I explored, and a couple of times I was only on 2 wheels as I was getting over some obstacles. It looked like they were working on the fence where I got off on highway 30, and if they do close that up and don’t put a gate there you can still access the area from the Immigrant Trail Rd., it’s just an 10 mile trip on a dirt road instead of 1 mile. 

The land is pretty remarkable in that it’s composed of a very, very coarse sand, and not much can grow in it, so you’re left with the trees, and sand paved pathways for the most part. There are some of those little pricky plants, but those are mainly in the more open areas, and the regular desert flora & fauna crops up here and there, but it’s not abundant especially around the big rocks. The area is exposed in a birding field book as a place to see tons of birds, but I didn’t think so, it’s probably the wrong time of year. I saw the regular mix of ravens, predator birds, heard an owl, and saw maybe one bird that somebody would’ve had interest in. There were 2 rabbits, and some sort of rodents that were trying to get into my pickup bed for some dinner. Aside from that I didn’t see any other life, not even another human, which was kind of disappointing. 

Without serious looking I found 4 routes that had been setup, and I’m sure there are more that I didn’t see since I didn’t explore most of the outcroppings, and there will definately be more to come. I haven’t met them, but there’s a small group working on building up the routes in that area. It definately has potential to become like City of Rocks, I’m torn between posting this and letting whoever stumbles on this page know about this place, what it looks like and how to get there, and keeping it to the few who know how incredible it is. 

While I was there it was dead silent. Occasionally you could hear a light hum from the highway a couple miles away from a semi, but for the most part it was dead silent. I camped in a little cove type area between the cliffs in one of the ridges surrounded with mature pines. Somebody had shoveled a couple terraces out of the slope for tents, and I have to admit it’s one of the best places I’ve camped in. That sand substrate makes for great sleep even w/out a pad. That area is truly unique in the fact that it’s one of the few remarkable places you can find absolute solace in the state, at least when I went, lol. Go now because it won’t be like that in a decade. With proper management I’m confident that it will be a premier climbing destination one day. 

The Sun Tunnels are about 30 minutes away from the Playground, and are pretty interesting. They’re oriented for viewing the sunrise/sunset during the solstice and equinox. 

View photos from this trip

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