Pipe Spring National Monument

Tuesday August 29th 2017

It was another hot day. The temperature topped out around 104 degrees about 5:30 this afternoon. Even with both AC units running full time, the side of the RV toward the sun was uncomfortably hot. The overnight low is forecast to be 75 degrees so one of the AC units will need to be on all night. I much prefer having the windows open.

This morning I went out on my usual first day in a new location exploration drive. It turned into a fifty mile trip into Arizona to visit the Pipe Spring National Monument. It is located in an area known as the Arizona Strip. This section of Arizona north of the Grand Canyon is a section of high desert that is suitable for cattle ranching. The water source at the Pipe Spring was significant to the Native Americans, the Spanish as a stop on the Spanish trail from Santa Fe to California and the Mormon settlers.


One of the springs that drew people to the area.


The fort dubbed Winsor castle by explorer John Wesley Powell for the Mormon leader responsible for its construction.


View of the Inside of the wall in the previous picture.


Opposite side of the fort.


The fort is filled with period furniture. I don’t think the two mouse traps on the far left of the picture are period.


Two chairs with an unusual canned seat.


A ranch wagon.


Two Longhorn cattle that live on site to set the historic mood.


A example of a covered wagon used by travelers that often stopped at the ranch.

The part of the site’s history that is celebrated by the National Monument is the Mormon settlers period. The fort building on the site was ordered built by Brigham Young to protect the church’s cattle ranch at the site from displaced native Americans and to protect Mormon families from the authorities attempting to end polygamy.

The fort is really a ranch house turned inside out. The solid stone walls have gun ports but there is no history that they were actually used. The ranch provided the Mormon community in St. George with butter cheese and cattle until over grazing and drought reduced the viability of the area. It continued to serve as a refuge for plural wives in Mormon families. The fact that Pipe Spring was in Arizona Territory and not Utah Territory or later the state of Utah complicated proving polygamy.

The guided tour of the fort and the ranch conducted by a National Park Service ranger was very informative. The literature and signs alone don’t provide the depth of understanding that the ranger provided about the history. There is also a museum describing the life of the history and life of the Kaibab Indians. The Pipe Spring National Monument is in the middle of the Kaibab Indian Reservation.

I completed my area familiarization drive with a stop at Walmart back in Hurricane UT. Overall I traveled 100 miles and toured a National Monument all to get a few groceries at a Walmart five miles from my campsite.

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