Flaming Gorge Scenic Drives
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Flaming Gorge Scenic Drives
Highways 191 and 44 have been designated the Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway. They provide incredible scenery as they wind through the mountains and skirt edges of the reservoir.
Other scenic roads also extend to attractions in this area and provide great opportunity to auto tour. Below we mention some of the more popular drives.
Highways 191 and 44
Signposts along Hwy 191 describe the geography of the area, identifying the various rock strata and telling what kind of fossils you might expect to find. This is dinosaur country and you pass by some rock layers where dinosaur bone fossils are prevalent. This section is called the "Drive Through The Ages" because you pass strata from various periods of the earth's history.
Steinaker and Red Fleet Utah state parks are located in this area. Hwy 191 runs along the edge of Steinaker Reservoir. Red Fleet Reservoir is just a couple miles east of the highway and is definitely worth a visit.
As you continue north you climb the heavily forested Uinta Mountains, past cascading streams and small mountain lakes. There are several developed campgrounds in the mountains along the highway.
Soon you come to the junction of Hwy 191 and Hwy 44. Hwy 191 forks right and drops down to Flaming Gorge Reservoir. It crosses the dam at Dutch John and then continues north into Wyoming.
Hwy 44 veers left and follows ridgelines above Flaming Gorge. It provides access to Red Canyon Visitor Center and overlook, to Sheep Creek, the town of Manila and then Lucerne Valley Marina.
The old Swett Ranch Historic Site is located near the junction of Hwys 191 and 44.
Deer, elk, moose, foxes, coyotes, eagles, hawks and many other wild species are commonly seen along these highways.
Sheep Creek/Spirit Lake Scenic Backway
The paved Sheep Creek Geologic Loop road offers views of very unique scenery east of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. It forks from Hwy 44 about five miles south of the town of Manila. The road is narrow, windy and climbs to high elevations. The views are very rewarding.
For several miles, the road follows Sheep Creek and the visually dramatic Uinta Fault. Along the fault, rock layers have shifted vertically creating sheer canyon walls, cliffs, towering monoliths, fractures rock piles and other interesting natural features.
There are a few working ranches in this area and they still provide a glimpse of the classic American cowboy lifestyle. Some are very picturesque.
A large herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep live in the Sheep Creek area and animals can often be seen from the road. Deer and elk are common here, along with other kinds of wildlife.
Sheep Creek and Browne lake are just short drives off the loop. Spirit Lake is accessible via a spur road. These lakes are popular fisheries. In addition, they offer campgrounds, picnic areas and trailheads.
The Sheep Creek Loop itself runs for about 13 miles. If you add spurs, you can take an extended trip on scenic backroads here.
From Manila, Hwy 43 cuts east across Utah ranch country and then across southern Wyoming badlands to connect with I-80 near Ft. Bridger.
South of Flaming Gorge, the Red Cloud Loop and Diamond Mtn Road provide scenic backcountry routes that are fun to explore.