The drive along the Grey’s River road is gorgeous with beautiful mountain ranges on both sides. It’s a very long drive and while it isn’t beautiful the whole way, but overall it is well worth the time!
The quality of the Smiths Fork Road had been very good, it was mostly two cars wide and in very good shape. At the very top it was a little bit rutted from the very recent snowmelt, but I’m sure in a few months traffic would smooth it out. For the most part you are easily driving 20-45 MPH depending on how curvy it is in an area.
When I turned on to the Grey’s River Road at the pass the quality of the road dropped dramatically. At first it is in a very narrow valley and the road is only one car width wide and you are driving 10 MPH. I came across an oncoming car and had to pull off the road and let him sneak past me. After a few miles it widens out but even then the road is fairly rocky with fist sized rocks and you are only driving 20 MPH. That lasts for about 15 miles and then all of a sudden the road becomes like a dirt super-highway. If you’re willing to put up with the massive cloud of dust you’re throwing up behind you, it’s easy to comfortably drive 40-50 MPH from then on all the way to Alpine. Every so often it’s wash-boarded but not very often.
I highly recommend this trip for you as an extended camping spot, as long as you can do without internet. There is no cell phone or internet on it. All along both roads there are tons of spots where you can pull over and disperse camp, many right on creeks. I camped one night on the Smith’s Fork and one night on the Grey’s River and both times I was within 50 feet of a creek. A car can easily make the whole drive and I believe an RV could do the entire loop as well, but at its narrowest point (which doesn’t last long) it would be very difficult if you came across another car headed the other way. One of you might need to back-up to a pullover.
The closer you get to Alpine the more campers there are. For probably the last 20 miles there are tents, trailers and 5th Wheels in most of the nicer campsites. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a campsite close to Alpine. There are dozens of little roads that head off the main road into the valleys of the mountain ranges that parallel the road. If you drive up any of them you will find many more campsites.
I only drove up one of them at mid-day because I wanted to find a spot to pull over and eat lunch. There were four reasons I drove up the Deadman Mine Road:
- It was getting hot and I wanted to find shade.
- I didn’t want to eat lunch near the main road because traffic moves fast on it and I would be worried about Cody running free and possibly getting run over.
- I also wanted to get far away from the dust of the main road—who wants to eat lunch and be covered with dust!?
- It also looked like they would be beautiful valleys so I wanted to see if I could get some photos.
Like everywhere else we had been on the drive, we were parked and walked along a pretty creek. Cody was in heaven on this drive because there was an abundance of squirrels to chase and whenever he got hot there was a creek for him to walk around in and cool off. There was also an abundance of deer on the trip, so many they are actually a risk. Numerous times they crossed the road right in front of me and a few times I was lucky to get stopped to avoid hitting them.
Overall I have to say this is a magnificent drive that I highly recommend to everyone, especially in late June when the wildflowers are in bloom. The longer you can stay the more you’ll love it! The main road is great and worth the trip but when you add the dozens of side-trips you can make up into the many mountain valleys, it becomes truly remarkable.