Urban exploration adventures within an hour of Provo

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This house is one of the few remaining structures in Thistle, Utah, after the landslide in 1983. The site is an interesting place to visit for tourists looking for an Urban exploration adventure. (Drewe Zanki)
This house is one of the few remaining structures in Thistle, Utah, after the landslide in 1983. The site is an interesting place to visit for tourists looking for an Urban exploration adventure. (Drewe Zanki)

Provo has its perks, but sometimes it’s nice to escape the bubble. BYU students may be surprised to find what’s just within a day’s drive of their doorstep.

Former BYU student Jen Groves is an outdoor junkie who has spent time all over Utah visiting lesser-known sites that are still within driving distance from Provo.

Groves suggests an “urban exploration” adventure, a term coined by her husband, Brady Groves. According to the Groves family, urban exploration involves looking for and finding remains of cities and landmarks that have long been abandoned.

One such location is just outside of a rural neighborhood in Eureka, Utah, 45 minutes south of Provo. Here explorers can find the remains of an old mine shaft and a pioneer cemetery.

“You can look down into the mine shaft, and you can’t see the bottom of it,” Jen Groves said. “We took a rock and chucked a rock down there and timed it. We estimated it’s at least 500 feet deep.”

One of the mine shafts has a board laid on top of it so thrill-seekers can venture to the middle of it and gaze into the blackness. The shafts are closed off with rebar over the top to keep any would-be explorers from venturing inside. The GPS coordinates for the ruins are 39.944857, -112.131337.

The Eureka Cemetery is just a few extra minutes down the road from the mines.

Another potential urban exploration site, just a half hour up Spanish Fork Canyon, is an old town called Thistle.

Thistle was flooded in 1983 after a mudslide dammed up a nearby river. An old schoolhouse stands in the middle of a lake and is accessible by kayaking or swimming.

Those visiting any urban exploration site should practice the Leave No Trace principle so others who want to go to those sites can enjoy them in their natural state.

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