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  1. #1

    Default Grafton Ghost Town, UT

    Hi, last year we planned on going to Bodie ghost town as part of our Utah-California road trip, but decided not to on the advice from on here re:very bad dirt roads & hire car rules.
    We're heading off again in October, mostly focusing on Utah this time and finishing in Vegas.
    But just wondering does anyone here who has explored the region very well know what state the roads leading to Grafton ghost town near Zion is? Would we get away with it taking a hire car there?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Unpaved usually means a 'No no'.

    Hey Captain, good to see you back here and planning another trip !

    I don't know what condition the road is in, but the fact that is a gravel track would almost certainly be in breach of your rental contract as most say that you can not travel on unpaved roads. Looks an interesting place though and I can see why you and your camera would be interested !

  3. #3


    It's all planned, booked & everything! Someday I'll get to a ghost town with a paved road to it!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Don't give up.

    I am not familiar enough with the rental industry in the US, but here we have companies such as 'Rent a Wreck', who rent vehicles without any restrictions. Mind you, they are not for long extended trips, but they are seen in the general areas where rental companies' restriction prevent folk from visiting certain attractions.

    Maybe these exist over there, without any of us knowing. After all, very few are aware of the company which rents vehicles to drive the Haul Road in Alaska.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-07-2011 at 04:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default As long as its not raining...

    The road is packed dirt, more or less. You can see the paved highway, but it is an-road caper. Here are some driving directions... As long as it's not raining, I think your rental car could make it OK (but we all agree that such driving behavior would be against the rules).


  6. Default

    Several years ago they have paved more of the road that use to be dirt so it's not that far on the dirt part. We were just there last month and the dirt part was in great shape. As long as it hasn't rained hard recently or is currently raining, the road should be fine. When it has rained the road can be impassible...even in our 4 x4 jeep we didn't go one year because the ruts were so bad.

    There are only 4 or 5 buildings left but what is there is in a very scenic setting as is worth it even if you had to hike that last mile or so.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Now, that's a timely field report

    Well, that trumps my last time there by 18 months or so.... Excellent. Yeah, the dirt in that part of Utah is like good old Alabama or Wyoming gumbo... When it gets wet, it is slicker than snot, and doesn't compress at all well -- making some truly extraordinary ruts!


  8. #8


    Thanks for the help guys, especially on the condition of the roads. We'll be leaving Zion on 6th November, so will see how the weather is in the days before. It's kind of enroute to Hurricane anyway, so we'll see!

  9. #9


    We're heading off end of Oct...can't wait. Still not sure whether we'll try to get to Grafton, but found another place, Nelson, just south of Las Vegas. Anybody here know if it's on a main (not-off road) road? It looks pretty cool from photos etc, not sure how authentic it actually is, but might keep us happy, and give us a few hours away from Vegas.

  10. #10

    Default Rental (hire) car restrictions?

    Hello irishcaptain and other contributors,

    I find myself wondering precisely what geographic restrictions are typical in current rental car contracts. My own rental experience is largely irrelevant, where I typically have no plans for off-highway travel. In fact, my only experience with restrictions was on the Big Island of Hawai'i, where my Jeep rental contract forbade driving on the Saddle Road, and by extension, the access road to Mauna Kea, as the MK road can best be accessed by the Saddle Road. I don't recall if the Mana Road there was included in the banned territory, and possibly it wasn't, given that only the more daring of Big Island visitors would take on its 44 mile wilderness route from Waimea, around the foot of Mauna Kea, to the access road several miles off of the Saddle Road. Good thing they didn't track their rentals via GPS in 2005, as they'd have worn me out!

    Anyway, back to the Western US mainland: Are the restrictions you're seeing such that ANY unpaved road is banned, or is it instead a prohibition on "non public roadways", ie trails, which is in place? As many of us realize, many tens of thousands of miles of the Western US and the Great Plains are latticed with fine, graded gravel roads which have County and State numbered status. These roads enjoy full use by the US Postal Service, school buses, and public transport of all types. A vehicle rental contract barring travel on any unpaved surface seems unreasonable and even unlikely, as all sorts of business travelers need to fly in, rent a vehicle, and do their business in rural environments where public roads and highways lack asphalt or concrete surfaces.

    So, what exactly are we seeing in these rental contracts? A ban on unpaved road travel, or bans on use on non-publicly maintained roads?


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