Some Incredible Four Wheeling

This is some bone jarring 4 wheeling. Believe me, when you get through playing in American Fork Canyon, you will be ready to relax. Mineral Basin is the canyon just to the north of Miller Hill. It is some of the hardest 4 wheeling I've found in northern Utah. Just after passing the old Pacific mine you start into the Rock Garden. It is not intended for stock vehicles or the faint of heart!

By going on top of the tailings pile at Pacific mine, you see a hidden road going off to the south. This road winds up to the top of Miller Hill. On top of the mountain is George Tyng's grave. Old George Tyng had been quite an adventurer in his life and in his later years owned a couple of mines on Miller Hill. One winter, an avalanche smashed through his cabin, killing him instantly. The miners that worked for Tyng loved the old man and they braved the harsh winter and the many avalanches and took his body into American Fork, Utah. When Tyng's will was read, it was discovered that he wished to be buried in a beautiful meadow at the top of Miller Hill overlooking Mineral Basin. The miners took Tyng's body back up to Miller Hill and buried him there.


The roads in Mineral Basin and on Miller Hill are not suited for stock vehicles. Only quality four wheel drive vehicles with experienced drivers will be able to get through the Rock Garden. And even then, broken vehicle parts and dents can be expected. The roads up Miller Hill are very narrow and wider wheel base vehicles should be careful to not get too close to the edge for fear of rolling off of the mountain. This is very remote location and if you have trouble it would take some time for anyone to find you and several hours for emergency crews to come to your aid. When going to a place such as this, if you are without a companion vehicle, be sure to let someone know where you will be and when you are expected to return. Do NOT enter old mine shafts! These old mines are unstable and could collapse. They may also have poisonous gasses and hidden shafts. There have been people in the recent past killed by falling in hidden shafts. Don't chance your life by going in the mines!

Damage from this Trail:

Bent new wheel on the rocks in the Rock Garden
Broke the radio antenna off my truck

Click on the Thumbnails to see the larger photos

On the way up looking
east toward Heber, UT
Looking west toward our
final destination
This is beautiful country
The old Pacific Mine marks the
beginning of our adventure
This is the beginning
of the Rock Garden
This is tough stuff!
It quickly gets harder
This is some awesome
4 wheeling
Take your tires over the
big stuff
These boulders would tear
the bumper off of most cars
Here is a little better angle
DON'T try this at home!
My brother-in-law's Mitsubishi
did pretty well!
No lift on this truck but the
short wheelbase helps
He gets his tire
in the air
The scenery here
is wonderful
Not many people can
get up here
Our Forest Service wants to
shut places like this off
The fall foliage
was breathtaking
Not long and this will
all be snowed in
Time to come down
I walk out to get a good photo
of the bull moose
When he takes a look at me
its time to turn back
As we round the corner
we see the cow moose in back
If only the mountains
could tell the history
What's left of
someone's home
Could this be where
George Tyng lived and died?
This is one of the hardest
places I've ever gone
No one could tell me how
to get here
George Tyng must have been
quite a fellow
Tibble Fork Reservoir and
pavement back to Am. Fork

Articles about George Tyng

George Tyng
The Tragedies of the Blue Bird and Miller Mines

Click Here if link is not available

Kingsmills Visit Pampa in 1902
Click Here if link is not available

George Tyng Left
Click Here if link is not available

Tragedy in American Fork Canyon
Click Here if link is not available

On September 27, 2015, I received an email from Kurt Williams. He inquired about a photograph of a cabin I had taken years ago in American Fork Canyon. I moved to Florida in December 2008 so it has been years since I have been up the canyons in Utah.

Kurt and his 4x4 friends are making a difference in the canyons. They have restored the picket fence around George Tyng's grave and another grave yard at what is called "Grave Yard Flat" in Major Evans Gulch. I am very appreciative to people who do this. I believe that we should leave all of our beautiful places better than we found them. Our history belongs to all of us and when anyone destroys of piece of that history it effects all of us! So, Thank You Kurt and all of your friends!

Below is the email exchange between Kurt and me and also some photos he emailed me.

Hello Jay, I hope this finds you well.

I've been visiting your site and enjoying your trip reports and research projects, thanks for taking the time to document that. I'm working on a project on the American Fork Canyon area, documenting, restoring and sharing the history of the canyon. Just yesterday we renovated the George Tyng grave site, replacing the damaged fence with a fresh new one. (pictures attached)

Would you be willing to share the location of this building?

That isn't one I recall seeing in the past and I'm hoping it is still somewhat standing and available for us to document.
Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

- Kurt

Hi Kurt,

I am so glad to see that you and others are taking a concern about George Tyng’s gravesite. Several years ago, someone took the fence down that surrounded the children’s graveyard at Major Evans gulch up in that area. I was very upset about that and even asked a ranger up there about it. He didn’t know why the fence had been taken down either. I had actually planned on going up there and painting it but didn’t get up there in time.

I grew up in Spearman, Texas which is only 70 miles from where George Tyng lived in Pampa, Texas. It was very interesting to me to find his grave.

The cabin that you are asking about is a little hard to find. I will see if I can tell you how I found it. From what I remember, Tyng’s grave is on the north side of Mineral Basin (if that is the correct name). This cabin is on the south side. We used to camp in an area there at the base of all those roads. I believe it is called Dutchman Flat. I hope that is correct. There is also another road that I’ve heard referred to as the Rock Garden. Some people like to take their 4x4’s up it. At the very base of the Rock Garden there are some mining tailings. They were doing some remediation there a few years ago before I moved to Florida in 08. You know how many roads split off there at the base!

I left Salt Lake City and moved to Florida in December ’08 so all of my travels up American Fork Canyon were before that so all my memories are from a while back. I used to go up Mary Ellen Gulch and do some gold panning. I found a pretty decent cabin up there. I looked up across the canyon one day and saw an outhouse on the edge of the canyon. I would love to know more of the history on that cabin and the mines up there.

There used to be a road that went from Dutchman Flat that would take you up to this cabin but that road sloughed off. If you go further up the main road that goes on over to Midway, right past Dutchman flat, there  is another road that turns left and I believe that goes up Mineral Basin. As you turn off the main road up the canyon, to your left (there in Mineral Basin), you will see a big tailing pile on the left. Drive up on top of that and then you will see the road. If you go far enough south, it dead ends where the road sloughed off. If you go the other way, which takes you up the south side of Mineral Basin, that is the right road. There is a Y up that road. Stay to the right. The cabin in the photo is up there.

The road is very narrow and as I was going up, my back, passenger side tire, started slipping off the road. There is probably a 200 foot drop-off there. It isn’t straight down but it is steep enough that it would ruin your day if your vehicle rolled off. I was able to get my back tire on a boulder that was sticking half way out of the ground and I was able to get all four wheels back on the road. It was not a fun experience!

I tried to load my Garmin topo maps the other day and had some problems doing so. If I can get them loaded this week, I will see if I can send you some images that might give you a better idea of where the cabin is. I am having a hard time remembering all the names of the canyons up there. It seems like Mineral Basin, on the right side as you are going up, is where Tyng Is buried? The cabin is to the south of his gravesite across the gulch.

I just pulled up the photos on my website. It is kind of jogging my memory. You see the old Pacific Mine tailings, if you drive up on top of those you will see the road that goes up the mountain. Just stay on that and to the right at the Y and it should lead you up to the little meadow where that cabin is!

Jay McMullan

Thanks for your reply Jay,

I'm quite up to speed on the fence at Forest City cemetery (children’s graveyard at Major Evans gulch), we rebuilt that in 2012 and added interpretive signage, etc. The Forest Service is the one that took down the old fence... without any immediate plans to rebuild it. They did fun the new fence, we (4x4 clubs, etc) provided the labor. You can see some video of that here (I'm the bearded dude talking about he history of the fence)

The cabin and outhouse you're referring to in Mary Ellen Gulch are the Strong cabin, built by Lloyd Strong in the 50's. It's been quite abused the last 4-5 years and I've got a target on cleaning and stabilizing that before it get's beyond repair.

Your description of the cabin and it's site tell the story... sadly as part of that same remediation you saw happening in 2008, many cabins were dozed off into rubble piles or dismantled and tossed into the trees. I fear that cabin fell victim.

Tyng is buried on Miller Hill, which is accessed from the trail that departs south from the Pacific Mine. It starts out as the same road that used to connect to Dutchman Flats (as you noted it's stopped by a washout) but turns uphill and switches back many times up to the Miller area mines and Tyngs grave.

If you do stumble across any old gps tracks or additional photos, please share. Thanks!

- Kurt


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