Smiths Cabin

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Smiths Cabin
Date: 5/13/2007
Type: Picnic/Historic/Siteseeing
Miles From Grand Junction: Approx. 31 one way
Access: Passenger Car Friendly
Usage: Moderate
Rating: 4star
Restrooms: No
GPS Coordinates:  38° 40.828’N , 108° 18.724’W

Smith Cabin is located a little over thirty one miles from the intersection of 32 Road and U.S.50 in Grand Junction. To get there travel for approximately twenty one miles towards Delta on U.S. 50. Turn right (South) onto Escalante Canyon Road and stay on the main road as it winds and weaves its way down the canyon. The cabin will be located on your right about ten and a half miles into the canyon, you can’t miss it.

Smiths Cabin is the old home of Captain Henry Smith who came to Escalante Canyon after serving in the Civil War. He was a tombstone carver by trade. The Smith Cabin site actually consists of two cabins. The first cabin was Smiths main home and was built by erecting three walls against a large slab of Sandstone. Inside this cabin Smith carved out a niche in the sandstone rock for a bed and next to his bed he carved a slot to hold his guns.

Since Smiths place was about halfway up the canyon it made a good spot for travelers to rest for the night. To be hospitable Smith built another cabin behind his with a loft and beds. This second cabin had a secret room built into the back that consisted of a set of shelves attached to some hidden hinges. The shelves are still there but the last time I visited they had pulled away from the hinges.

Above his cabin on the flat surface of the cliff face, Smith carved his initials and the initials of R. Bowen which was a blacksmith friend of Smiths. Under Bowens name he carved a horse shoe with a star in the middle which was the emblem of the black smith.

A few miles prior to reaching Smith Cabin from U.S. 50 you will come to an old dilapidated cabin. This cabin was the home of Harry Walker which was a bricklayer. The cabin was built using only the materials available nearby which was stone and mud. The house is still stands and was put together using mud dug from their yard. The Walker cabin is owned by the state so you are welcome to go in and explore it.

A little past the Walker cabin there is a large balanced rock high on your right which is called Table Rock. The top of this rock is about ten feet square and stands about three or four feet apart from the rest of the hill. Rumor has it that a gentleman named Ben Lowe lived under this rock and liked to thrill people by jumping his horse from the hill onto this rock then back. Mr. Lowe was killed in a gunfight with a lawman.

Approximately a quarter mile up the road is a fence indicating BLM land. A short distance past that on your left is a small turn out that takes you to an overlook of the potholes. The overlook gives you views down into Escalante Creek and the pools that make up the potholes. Please do not swim or go into the potholes the currents can be stronger than expected and are very dangerous.

From this point on it is recommended that you have at least a higher clearance vehicle. I have not been past this point for many years so I don’t know what the road is like.

Smiths Cabin is a nice place to go for the day to have a picnic and just get out and enjoy the outdoors. Escalante Canyon has a ton of history associated with it and there is all kinds of old sites all along the road and in the area.

 

 

 

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