Uinta National Forest Overview

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City-bound Utahans need only look skyward for a ready reminder that an escape from the hassles and pressures of modern life is close at hand. Rearing high above most of Utah's most populous areas and extending hundreds of miles north to south is the dramatic Wasatch Front, gateway to a recreational playground of unparalleled beauty and accessibility.

The Uinta National Forest encompasses most of the front—from "Point of the Mountain" near Salt Lake City south to Nephi—and a whole lot more. It's a forest of steep canyons, deep woods, high desert, and lofty peaks. In all, Uinta National Forest covers just shy of 1 million acres.

Every bit as diverse as the forest's landscape is its recreational opportunities: camping, rock-climbing, ice-climbing, skiing, hunting, fishing, swimming, river-rafting, boating, and snowmobiling are just a few of the possibilities. There's something for the gentlest to the roughest of players.

And access to this forest playground couldn't be easier, thanks to convenient entry at American Fork, Provo, Hobble Creek, Spanish Fork, and Payson Canyons. Stunning vistas of alpine peaks and aspen-rimmed mountain meadows are yours for the taking, whether you reach them by auto on the scenic byways that cross the forest, or by foot or fat tire.

Drive the Mt. Nebo Loop
Calling all photographers, hikers, and scenic drivers! The Mt. Nebo Loop is one of the most spectacular features within Uinta National Forest. A photographer's dream, this 32-mile paved drive is full of rugged mountain beauty and many stunning overlooks of surrounding valleys. In autumn, leaf peeping is hard to match anywhere in the nation. Campgrounds abound along the route as do excellent leg-stretchers. Devil's Kitchen Geologic Interest Sight bears an uncanny resemblance to a miniature Bryce Canyon, and the Nebo Loop trail into the Mt. Nebo Wilderness makes a perfect outing for day hiking, backpacking, or horseback riding.

Hiking Tibble Fork Loop Trail
Pack the tyke-hiker, here's a loop trail with scenic diversity to hold the attention of even the most attention-challenged. The diversity along the trail from changes in plant life and temperatures is quite interesting and you never know what you'll encounter as you work your way along the drier, warmer southwest side of the mountain to the cooler, moister northeast side. The trail comes with a constant cast of colorful characters—abundant wildflowers in spring and summer, and vibrant foliage in autumn.

Cast for Thousands of Fish
Currant Creek Reservoir is earning itself a heck of a reputation as home of the lunkers, and justifiably so. The beauty of the reservoir is the variety of ways you can fish it: Cast from shore, from a boat, or troll, or fly-fish below the dam on Currant Creek. Big rainbows and cutthroats are the prize in the reservoir, with pan-sized rainbows in the outflow. Boats of all sizes are welcome, and you'll find a nearby campground with modern facilities.

Scale Mt. Timp
For views of alpine meadows, lakes, and waterfalls, not to mention a huge swath of Utah, 11,753-foot Mt. Timpanogos delivers the goods. The peak itself is ensconced in a federal wilderness of the same name that covers 10,750 acres and contains 17 miles of maintained trails. Two trailheads, Timpooneke and Aspen Grove, provide access to the summit from either American Fork Canyon or Provo Canyon. The hiking season extends from mid June through September. Large amounts of snow make the trail very dangerous in the early summer months, so use caution and come properly equipped if attempting an early-season summiting.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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