Most previous GeoSights have featured a single geologic site or view. This article, however, features a series of sites along a 17-mile paved, but less traveled, road officially known as Emery County Road 803 and locally known as Moore Cutoff.
What makes Moore Cutoff spectacular and worthy of a GeoSights article? Located on the western flank of the San Rafael Swell, Moore Cutoff travels across and through a sequence of some of Utah’s most famous geologic formations. From the Ferron Sandstone Member of the Mancos Shale down to the Navajo Sandstone, these rock layers represent nearly 100 million years of Utah’s geologic history. Here you can see some of the same grandiose rocks found in Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Parks; Dinosaur National Monument; and other national and state parks and monuments, but without the crowds.
This article highlights just a few of the many sites to be found when exploring Moore Cutoff between the former townsite of Moore and Interstate 70 (I-70). All mileage referred to in the site descriptions is from the intersection of County Roads 802 and 803 at the north end of Moore Cutoff. Some of the sites are immediately adjacent to Moore Cutoff, whereas others require travel on unpaved side roads.
Warning: do not attempt off-pavement travel in wet weather. Moisture on the Tununk Member of the Mancos Shale and Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation makes for extremely hazardous to impossible driving conditions.
How to get there:
Moore Cutoff road connects the former townsite of Moore (located between Emery and Ferron) to exit 116 on I-70 (located between Salina and Green River). From the Wasatch Front, take I-15 towards Spanish Fork, then take exit 257 for U.S. Route 6 towards Price. Travel southeast on U.S. Route 6 for 67.4 miles to exit 241 for Utah Highway 10 towards Castle Dale.
Travel south on Utah Highway 10 for 46.2 miles, then turn left onto County Road 801 towards Moore. Travel south on County Road 801 (which becomes County Road 802 after 2 miles) for 3.7 miles until it ends at County Road 803. Turn left onto County Road 803. This intersection is the start of mileage referred to in the site descriptions.
From southern Utah take I-70 to exit 91 (between Salina and Green River) for Utah Highway 10 towards Price and Emery. Travel north on Utah Highway 10 for 16.2 miles, then turn right onto County Road 801 towards Moore. Travel east and north on County Road 801 (which becomes County Road 803) for 3.1 miles to the “T” intersection with County Road 802 (on the left). Continue on County Road 803. This intersection is the start of mileage referred to in the site descriptions.
Note: County Roads 803 and 801 west of Moore have entirely new sections as of 2010. Therefore, web-based mapping services and GPS devices may give different or inaccurate directions. Such was the case as of the writing of this article in summer of 2015.