Leap Creek drains a major section of the East slope of the Pine Valley Mountains and empties into Ash Creek to the East of and near exit 33 on Interstate I15.
The Spanish Trail later called the Mormon Trail was an early 19th century north-south route from Salt Lake Utah to Nevada and thence to California.
One north-south route was down the western side of the Pine Valley Mountains through Mountain Meadow, an ideal stopover location with water and grass for cattle. On September 11, 1857 a wagon train of settlers travelling to California was attacked by members of the Mormon Militia together with some Paiute Native Americans. They killed all the adults and older children (totaling about 120 men, women, and children). Seventeen children, all younger than seven, were spared.
Subsequently a north-south route was established down the eastern side of the Pine Valley Mountains. This route was built to service the small communities east of the Pine Valley Mountains but also to avoid the location where the massacre had taken place.
However, this route was blocked by a ridge of volcanic rock which forms the southern edge of the Great Basin. This was the Black Ridge south of Kanarraville.
The major obstacle across the Black Ridge was a deep gorge which required wagons to be disassembled and lowered by ropes. When he first approached this deep gorge, Washington County’s first road supervisor, Peter Shirtz, remarked that you could almost leap across the gorge. Thus the location became known as Peters Leap and the waterway through the gorge as Leap Creek.
Later, in 1863, townspeople built the Black Ridge Dugway, near present day I15, through the Black Ridge, permitting wagons to traverse the gorge in one piece. After this, the old route down Peters Leap was abandoned.
Peters Leap and the Leap Creek gorge can be accessed by a rough ATV trail from exit 36 on I15 to the top of the gorge or by travelling up the gorge from an access point at exit 33 on I15.
There are numerous pictographs high on the cliffs in the vicinity of Peters Leap. Below the ridge is a large rock island that reportedly was used by the Paiute Indians as a place where they sacrificed young maidens. Also there is a cave below the ridge where one of the ingredients required to make black powder was mined.
Overall rating of the trail up the wash = moderate
Distance: 2.6 miles total – easy
Elevation gain: ~300 feet with many ups and downs on the route – moderate
Terrain: Boulder strewn wash – difficult
Exposure: None – easy
To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System
There are two routes to Peters Leap: an overland ATV trail, and a hike up the Leap Creek gorge.
For the overland ATV trail leave Interstate I15 at exit 36 and take old Highway 91 west 1/4 mile to Escalante’s Path. Turn left and after 1/2 mile turn left onto 2600E. A short distance along this road the dirt trail to Peters Leap begins. Travel 0.8 miles to an old horse corral. Then take the road west 0.5 miles to the power line service road and follow it south for 1.9 miles until near the gorge. Then take the dirt road that veers to the right 0.2 miles to Peters Leap. This dirt road to Peters Leap is 3.5 miles and is very rough and not passible in wet weather.
To travel up the Leap Creek wash, leave I15 at exit 33 and cross over I15 to the west side and park in the small parking space provided. Hike directly west to the power line, a distance of about 150 feet, to connect to the power line service road which runs south into the Leap Creek Wash.