No Filter: Mollies Nipple

HURRICANE –  In this Episode 16 of the “No Filter show,” Paul Ford and Grady Sinclair explore a famous butte in Hurricane Valley called Mollies Nipple, discovering in the process one of the most amazing vantage points in Southern Utah, with the benefit of an incredible ride and overview via Zion Helicopters.

Mollies Nipple, so designated without an apostrophe in accordance with standards established by the U.S. Board on Geological Names, sits 1,353 feet above the valley floor and 4,593 feet above sea level. Technically a butte, or isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top and more narrow than a mesa, Mollies Nipple can be seen from as far as Washington City and the City of St. George.

Mollies Nipple was a well known landmark to the early pioneer explorers and has significant meaning to the indigenous peoples that inhabited the area before the pioneers. Atop the butte one can find remnants of ancient pottery. Some scholars maintain that the butte was used to rally seed gathering parties and hunting expeditions, according to Utah Department of Heritage and Arts. They would light fires and send smoke signals that could be seen throughout the entire region. Below the butte, one can find caves that were used in ancient times for temporary shelter and cooking.

Once on top of the butte, visitors will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of Washington County. Sand Hollow Reservoir brightly glistens to the southwest; and to the north and northwest one can see Pine Valley mountain in all of its majesty. The town of Hurricane, Zion National Park, the Kolob Fingers and Cedar Mountain come into view as one scales the horizon.

The many different colors of the surrounding landscape come to life in views from atop Mollies Nipple so remarkably that they were mentioned by Liam Neeson on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon when Liam Neeson related his own experience ascending Mollies Nipple with his son. Neeson said he has a fear of heights, which is apropos due to the fact that the butte gives you the sensation that you are standing on ground much higher than the reality due to how narrow the small plateau is on the butte’s top.

By some accounts there are approximately 11 geological features named Mollies Nipple in Utah. Some of these are attributed to an early pioneer named John Kitchen whose wife was named Mollie, according to author Brandon Griggs in his book, “Utah Curiosities,” citing another book, “Utah Place Names,” and RoadsideAmerica.com, among others.

While it may give rise to nervous giggles and occasional off-color humor, the toponym “nipple” has been applied to many mountains, buttes, lakes and creeks, not only in America’s West but in the eastern U.S. as well. According to factreference.org, on Mollies Nipple the term has a few different meanins, its Web page explains:

The term Molly (as well as Molley and Mollie) was slang for a harlot, or a prostitute going back to at least the early 1700s. The origin for most of the summits listed below is this early slang usage of the name. Anyone with an ancestor by the name of Molly who was an early settler in these areas might assume it was named for their pioneer relative. So, family stories handed down over the years may claim just such an attribution. But this is rarely ever the case.

Getting there 

From the top of St. George Boulevard in St. George, Mollies Nipple is a 28-mile drive. A four-wheel drive vehicle is needed for the last quarter-mile to the base of the butte; however, a two-wheel drive is adequate if a small amount of hiking fits the visitor’s lifestyle.

From Hurricane, one can use Highway 59. This is the same highway that accesses Colorado City, Arizona, Kanab and Lake Powell. Just a few miles outside of Hurricane there is a youth academy turn-off road heading west. Mollies Nipple is visible at that point. Expect dirt roads and a few Ys in the road (keep to the right).

This is a fun adventure, and the boys of the “No Filter Show” found that half the fun of Mollies Nipple is … getting there.

Zion Helicopters takes the  "No Filter Show" Co-hosts Paul Ford and Grady Sinclair up and about Mollies Nipple, Hurricane, Utah, January 2015 | Photo by Dan Fowlks, St. George News
Zion Helicopters takes the
“No Filter Show” Co-hosts Paul Ford and Grady Sinclair up and about Mollies Nipple, Hurricane, Utah, January 2015 | Photo by Dan Fowlks, St. George News

Resources

  • To enjoy Mollies Nipple and other sights of Southern Utah by helicopter visit: Zion Helicopters | Scenic Tours From 8 a.m. to Sunset 7 days a week | website |  Address: 25 N. 2770 West,  Hurricane | Telephone: 435-668-4185

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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27 Comments

  • arts and letters January 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    There’s a Mollys Nipple between Walla Walla, Washington and the Tri-Cities, too. Thoughtful folks keep the rocks on top painted a nice shade of red.

  • Evil Twins Mommy January 11, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    There’s a Mollys nipple in Virginia also but I like what they did with the video. No Filter cracks me up don’t change a thing

  • ladybugavenger January 11, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t get past the headline…still laughing

    • Evil Twins Mommy January 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Ladybug what heck. It is funny. We’re discussing Mollies Nipple LOL

  • Evil Twins Mommy January 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    I know it’s spelled Mollies but the locals have fun with it and spell it Mollys..good enough for me

    • Koolaid January 12, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Locals say “Zions”, too instead of “Zion”.

      • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 2:10 pm

        Who cares koolaid

  • real life January 11, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Another fine video.

  • Candice January 11, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you for such fun with No Filter. I sure enjoy watching these guys. Keep up the great work St. George News.

  • JimmieJam January 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Way to film the nip guys!….You two rock!

  • Mollie January 11, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    My name is Mollie! And it is humiliating to have my nipple out there for the world to see! 🙁

  • E. Goulding January 11, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Ok. I just want to hang out with these guys. I wonder how much Zion Helicopter charges to go for a ride. That was really cool.

  • BunnyRabbit2015 January 11, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Molly’s nipple?! well, I’m offended!

  • Evil Twins Mommy January 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    WARNING THIS IS NOT A PORN VIDEO LOL. I love. No. Filter

  • 2 leashes 1 dog January 11, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I never knew any of this stuff about Southern Utah. Redwood tree. 11 nipples. Liam was here, thats really cool. That one in Grafton about the first sound movie filmed out there. Keep it up. And thanks. I was wondering how much helicopter tour like that would cost myself. I’m guessing a few hundred bucks.

  • So-and-so's Dad January 11, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Molly’s Nipple is sometimes called an “inverted valley”. A lava flow will follow a lower channel and then harden to form a protective crust. Surrounding dirt and rock erodes away while what is underneath is protected by the basalt. What was once lower is now higher. There are several such flows north, east and west of St. George and Washington, not to mention those around the many cinder cones throughout the area. In the top of the sides of cuts made for I-15 you can see the crystalization, or “columnar jointing” that happens as the basalt cools. The woman in the parking lot who is afraid of ‘The Nipple’ erupting is standing much closer to three volcanoes than to Molly’s Nipple, which is NOT a volcano. But they are classified as “Dormant” so she may as well stay here and enjoy it.

    • Paul Ford January 12, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      So and So…we are preparing for a show on volcanoes and we need to find someone with a geo background. Email me at pford@stgeorgeutah.com if you are interested in being our go-to guy.

  • Ten to the Ninth January 11, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Autumn and Summer on the horses? Really? And you guys let that go without even a quip? Were they riding Fall and Spring? Keep up the good work guys. 🙂

  • AvidHiker January 11, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    The article is mistaken with regard to a certain famous actor. That ascent was in Utah, but was a different butte that shares the same name. There are at least five such buttes in Utah.

  • sagemoon January 12, 2015 at 8:24 am

    It may sound weird, but thank you for explaining why there is no apostrophe in the name.

  • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Summer and Autumn.? Yeah I caught that to. just part of the gig no big deal to me

  • Uncle Lenny January 12, 2015 at 10:26 am

    No Filter is fun and entertaining. Keep it going. Kudos to you.

  • Matt January 12, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Pretty sure Liam is referring to the Mollies Nipple of Kanab. He talks about the Grand Staircase/steps which would be Kanab not Hurricane.

    • Koolaid January 12, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      If he were talking about nipples in Utah, the topic would be about augmentation.

      • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm

        Really koolaid pfffffffffft old news

  • the dude January 12, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    It is also a great place to jump off of with a hang or paraglider http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn9bCQgjFWA

  • So-and-so's Dad January 12, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    This is a great series (“No Filter”). Keep it up.

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