Uinta National Forest
The Uinta National Forest covers many steep canyons and high mountain peaks along the Wasatch Front from "Point of the Mountain" near Salt Lake City south to Nephi. A small portion of the Forest lies west of Eureka and is surrounded by the western desert. The Forest includes 949,848 acres ranging from high western desert at Vernon to lofty mountain peaks such as Mount Nebo (11,877 feet), the highest peak in the Wasatch Mountain Range.
The Uinta's scenic beauty offers unlimited recreational opportunities any season of the year! Whether you are a hiker, skier, camper, or horseback rider, the Forest can provide the recreational experience you are seeking. There are 650 miles of trails on the Forest including the Great Western Trail that crosses the Uinta from north to south. Berry-picking, birding, fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling are some other activities on the Forest. A downhill ski area is located partially on the National Forest and several cross-country ski trails are easily accessible. Firewood and Christmas tree permits can be obtained at the Supervisor's Office and all District offices. All offices have recreation information for the Uinta and a travel map designating Forest roads, their legal use, and recreation facilities. This information is available free of charge.
Developed sites on the Forest include campgrounds, picnic areas, marinas, boat ramps, fishing access sites, trailheads, organizational camps, and recreation residences. Together they provide recreation opportunities for more than 20,000 people at one time. For your convenience, reservations may be made 120 days in advance of your outing at several campgrounds on the Uinta National Forest. Popular group camping is also available.
Three wildernesses have been designated on the Forest along the Wasatch Front. Lone Peak Wilderness (30,088 acres) is primarily a day-use area due to its small size and proximity to a large urban population. Principle uses are day hiking, backpacking, hunting, technical rock climbing, horseback riding, ski touring, photography, and nature study. Small size and proximity to the large Wasatch Front population make Mount Timpanogos Wilderness (10,750 acres) predominately a day-use wilderness.
Opportunities for scenic viewing and photography are abundant, with many waterfalls, glacial cirques, rugged terrain, and wildflowers for subjects. Other uses are day-hiking, nature study, and some backpacking. Horse use is limited from the Timpooneke Trail to the Timpanogos Basin Area. Mount Nebo Wilderness (28,170 acres) has a good trail system offering hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding opportunities.
There are a variety of other interesting attractions on the Forest. Alpine Scenic Loop, a 24-mile paved road, takes you east up American Fork Canyon to US Highway 189 in Provo Canyon. Along the way you will pass numerous campgrounds, picnic areas, Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Visitor Center, and views of Mount Timpanogos, which will remind you of the Swiss Alps. Cascade Springs Scenic Highway, a 75-mile paved road off the Alpine Scenic Loop, goes to Cascade Springs Interpretive Site, where large springs cascade down the mountain slope in a series of limestone terraces and pools. Boardwalks wind through the area, giving visitors an opportunity to view the trout that inhabit these pools. Fishing is not permitted in the springs area.
Nebo Scenic Loop Highway is a 32-mile paved road through rugged mountain beauty with several magnificent overlooks of the surrounding valleys. The Loop begins at Payson and terminates near Nephi. This road passes Payson Lakes campground and recreation area, the large Blackhawk campground with its facilities for campers with horses, and Devil's Kitchen Geologic Interest Area, which is similar to Bryce Canyon National Park, but on a smaller scale.
Strawberry Reservoir, 23 miles southeast of Heber on US Highway 40, features excellent fishing. Facilities include three new campgrounds, picnic sites, paved boat ramps, and full-service marinas at Strawberry Bay and Soldier Creek. A specially constructed pier on the reservoir provides wheelchair access for fishing. The area also draws many snowmobilers during the winter.
Currant Creek Reservoir and Recreation Area, 40 miles southeast of Heber, offers a large campground, paved boat ramp, an interpretive nature trail, and numerous hiking and horseback riding trails. A special campground loop provides facilities for keeping riding stock within the campground.
The Forest provides habitat for game species including elk, black bear, cougar, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, and mule deer. The Forest carefully manages critical watershed lands for counties along the Wasatch Front. Many features of the Central Utah Water Project are also located on the Forest. More than three million visitor days of recreation use occur on the Forest each year. Forage is provided for grazing by approximately 65,000 sheep and 12,000 cattle on the Forest. Approximately 4.3 million board feet of sawtimber are harvested each year on the Forest. Firewood harvested each year on the Uinta National Forest is equivalent to approximately 7.8 million board feet.
The Uinta has many opportunities available for volunteers. Individuals are recruited each year to fill positions as campground hosts, wilderness rangers, range conservationists, engineering aides, and public information assistants. Many groups volunteer their skills to help complete stream rehabilitation, campground construction, and range improvement projects. The Adopt-a-Trail, Campground, and Stream programs are also available for volunteers.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication