Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Corner of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada

UPDATE: The monument site was renovated in 2016. I visited it last week and have posted a new blog entry here about the new site.

On my latest return from Zion NP, I drove to the corner where Utah and Arizona butt up against Nevada. My map labeled the place as "Initial Monument." I'd never heard of that before. A lot of googling found some posts by adventurous people who'd visited the site. They reported that it required 4wd and they had to hike the last stretch. They also indicated that a geocache was located there. This sounded like a challenge to me. Here's a google map centered on the location. Google Earth already shows somebody's Panoramio photo of the site.

I used google maps satellite images to choose my route, a mere 17 miles off interstate I-15 from Littlefield. Almost all of those roads were passable by any vehicle. A few of which I could drive at 40 mph. The last few miles were on a ranch road along their barbwire fence. That was the funnest part of the drive, and does require high clearance (but not necessarily 4wd) to go through some fun (sharp) drops of about 6 feet into 6 ft washes then right back up.

The monument is marked with a 3 ft tall sandstone monolith. I found a source on the web that said this monument was placed there in 1901. The states are engraved into the sandstone on each side. One side reads "NL 37" indicating that this monument is at 37 deg north latitude, which is the latitude of the border between Utah and Arizona.

I took a photo of my Garmin display while I was there, as well as photos of the geocache contents. It was windy and overcast and still 102F. Nicer than the 117F down at Littlefield.

Lastly, here's a map indicating my route for anybody who's interested in a brief diversion from their drive along I-15.

UPDATE:  I've received a request for more details about the route, so I'm attaching a few more annotated Google maps.  Most of the route is a wide graded dirt road where you can drive 35+ mph.  That's why it doesn't take very long to get to the end.  As I mentioned in the comments, the last stretch of road is not graded, it is less used and follows a fence line.  That road crosses a few (2 or 3) gullies that might cause problems if you have bad approach/departure angles.  But you can always stop and hike from there - it's not very far.

The only place you might get a little lost, is in the area of the orange path.  I missed the right turn and then went on to the corner (orange path) and turned there.  The green circles mark the gullies.  I hope my description isn't out of date.  I plan to drive the route again in the next couple months just to see if the route is still as easy as it was in 2009.


Joe said...

Neat. Any photos of the "fun" part of the road?

michael said...

Sorry, no. Sometimes, when the road is fun, I'm all into the road and I forget to take photos or videos.

Jimm Emerson said...

I would like to attempt to visit this marker next summer. How close do you think one could get in a rental car--i.e. no 4WD or high clearance?

Jimmy Emerson said...


I would like to attempt to visit this tri point next summer while in Utah. Please email me so I can ask a couple of questions about your route, access etc. Thanks.

Michael said...


Sorry for the delay. The holiday is wearing me down. I can't figure out how to emai you. I found your flickr page. But I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. You can post a comment with your email - and i'll see it in moderation and then not publish it - but then I can email you.

The short answer is: you may be OK in a rental. I depends heavily on what kind of vehicle. Most of the route I took is no harder than a rough, washboarded, or potholed road. There are 2 or 3 big dips (6 feet deep or so). I can send you an annotated google map that shows those spots. For those it helps to have high clearance (to make for better approach/departure angles). If you rent a Subaru Outback or Forrester, or a truck, or an SUV, then no worries. I could have done this in my old 2003 Acura MDX with 8 inches of clearance. As it was, my rover is more than up to it, so it's sometimes hard to spot when the road would be tough for other vehicles.

Jay Smelkinson said...

Is it possible for you to send specific directions to me. I am hoping to visit this tripoint next month but want to make sure I can make it there and I will be in a rental car. Thank you,

Jay Smelkinson

pandksaadventure said...

It would be smarter to get there on a 4-wheeler! Pretty rough!

Jay Smelkinson said...

Is there any place you would recommend to rent a 4-wheeler from?

Michael said...

Yes, I suggest 4wd for this road. But it isn't actually necessary. To be fair, I have a lot of experience driving off road and my trucks are all very capable 4wd SUVs. But I think I could have driven this in my 2003 Acura MDX. I drove that thing over many 4wd trails.

Be sure to read my newer post (from June 2017) that I link to in the first paragraph of this post.

As for renting a 4wd vehicle, you can probably do that in St. George, Utah. That's a decent-sized city about 10 miles up the highway and they have many national car rental firms there. They'd probably have some 4wd vehicles for rent.

Jay Smelkinson said...


Are there actual dirt roads the whole way up. I tried to do this on a rental ATV and they had horrible GPS that I never made it to the tri point and I don't want to do another trip like that and not make it. Is there a way to preprogram the GPS for that area into my phone so that it will show up when I get there even if I don't have great service? Hope that makes sense, Thanks!

Michael said...


Yes there are actual dirt roads. I originally drove it (shown in this old post) by printing images from Google Earth - zoomed in so I could see the dirt roads. You can still use that method - and GW has even better resolution now. And the road now has some markers. I posted a pic of those on a recent trip to the site (here:

If you have a GPS that displays "breadcrumbs" then you can follow the roads shown in a google map (or satellite image) and verify by inspecting the shape of your route on your GPS track display. Many of the roads will NOT appear in any digital map displayed by a vehicle navigation system. Most do not devote much memory to small dirt roads. The ones in Land Rovers do. My Toyota LC is relatively new and it was lacking a road or two.

Give it another shot. As long as it's not horribly hot or windy, then it's a fun drive.


PS Google Captcha system is very very bad. I am glad that I am planning to ditch this crap site and move to squarespace.