My husband and I went to college in Utah. That is where we met. We lived there for the first few months of our marriage. Two of our children also went to school in Utah. So, we have seen most of the well known places to visit down central Utah. On our past trip from Phoenix, AZ to Casper, WY, we decided to take some of the roads less traveled and see some places we had always talked about visiting but never had.
As we headed north from Phoenix, we took US Highway 191 and stayed the first night in Monticello, UT. It is a very tiny town, with only a couple of restaurants. One special thing Monticello does have is an LDS temple, which is very beautiful. Unfortunately, it was Monday and the temple was closed, so we only got to see it from the outside.
The 191 took us up through the Uinta Mountains and Ashley National Forest. These mountains are the tallest and some of the most interesting and beautiful in Utah. Most of the Uinta Mountain Range is contained within the Ashley National Forest, which was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It includes 460,000 acres and is the largest wilderness area in Utah. Activities include hiking, boating, camping and fishing. The scenic drive along the 191 has markers that tell you about the geologic events and fossils to be found in the area. It was gorgeous, amazing and an educational experience.
One of the towns we drove through on the 191 was Vernal. It is such a cute little town. The main street is lined with the flowers I have photographed above. It is so pretty. Not only are the flowers on the sidewalks, but hanging from the old fashioned style street lights. I fell in love with that street.
Also in Vernal is Dinosaurland, home to the largest quarry of Jurassic Dinosaur bones there is.
When we left Wyoming and came back down into Utah. We went through the Uintas and Vernal again and then got on the UT 10 down to the I-70. We headed across the mountains over to the historical site of Cove Fort.
Cove Fort is a beautiful little oasis that was built under the direction of Brigham Young by Ira Hinckley in 1867. It was meant to be a place of protection and rest for people who traveled through Utah Territory. The fort would also include a telegraph station, a way station for the stage coach and a post office. Ira’s family would live at the fort and serve with him. It was built as a defense in case of problems with the Indians in the area, but the Hinckleys developed trade and good relationships with them instead. There was never a battle fought at this fort.
Cove Fort was built remarkably with stones and mortar made of lime and volcanic ash. The walls are 4 feet thick. You can see the ancient, inactive volcano in the distance. The displays of what life was like in the fort are remarkable. There is also a beautiful apple orchard like the fort had when it was active. 2 of the trees are old ones that have survived from that time! There is also a huge garden like those early settlers kept. Cove Fort is definitely worth the stop! Click to see a few of our favorite spots!
There are 2 ways to enter Cove Fort. We entered off of the I-70, but exited over to the I-15. Since Glen has his senior pass to the National Parks, we decided to use it a bit on this trip! If you are 62 or over, you can purchase a lifetime senior pass that gets you into the parks for free. We were able to get his for $10 before the price went up to $80 (thanks Obama, ha ha), but it is still a great value if you enjoy visiting the National Parks. It normally costs $35 or more per car to enter them, so this trip more than paid for Glen's pass. We used Glen's card to visit Kolob Canyons and Zion's National Park in Utah.
The red rocks and geological stories in these two areas are breath taking. Here is one of my favorite photos from Kolob Canyons:
From Kolob Canyons, we went further south and entered Zion's National Park. The park was packed and many people park outside of the part and just ride the shuttle to the various sights within the park. We chose just to take the scenic drive through the park from the west entrance to the east entrance on Highway 89. We saw a lot of camping sites and entrances to trails. We were able to drive through the mile long Mt. Carmel Tunnel. We made a little video of our trip!
Here are a few more photos of Zion's:
We had so much fun seeing all of the beautiful sites through Utah! Come back next week for our final installment about our trip when I will tell you about places to see in Arizona, our home state!
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy some of these from the past:
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!