The Prospector Trail is a gem-of-a-trail in the Desert Tortoise Preserve north of Washington City. It twists its way from Red Cliffs Campground on Quail Creek southward along ridges of Navajo, Kayenta, and Moenave Formations.
If you let your eyes wander from the trail, it is easy to see where the "Prospector" name came from. Millions of dollars worth of silver were mined out of the White (or Silver) Reef (actually, the Springdale Sandstone Member of the Kayenta Formation) mostly in the late 1800's. A real rarity amongst metallic ore deposits since the host formation is a sandstone rather than a limestone. Portions of the the trail today follow the same pack trails used by miners more than 100 years ago.
Here, miners were chasing silver-rich ore along some thin shale beds near the base of the Springdale Sandstone. This would have been very tough and dangerous since the ore body dips at a nearly 45-degree angle!
I finally figured out where the elusive "Flume Trail" is - a short but sweet offshoot of Prospector. To keep a steady gradient, the pioneers blasted through solid rock in places and in others, constructed elevated flumes. It's the only trail I can think of that has a bike-sized tunnel carved into solid rock.
The Flume Trail follows the path of a now-abandoned pioneer-era aqueduct.
Just barely wide enough for my 26.5" handlebars.
Above: more tunnel - this is the modern tunnel beneath I-15 at Grapevine Pass. The tunnel is so long and dark, you have to ride through blindly for several yards.
Prior to the construction of of the modern highway, Grapevine Pass and Spring were a popular stopover for Wagon trains traveling to and from Washington City. These pioneer inscriptions have faded with time and are now illegible.
Below: on a separate ride near Zion - an interesting old cabin.