Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sheep Creek Canyon, Flaming Gorge

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge

Today we took our scenic drive along Sheep Creek Canyon, a 13 miles loop that we took about 5 miles south of Manila (Manila is 8 miles south of where we are camping) off highway 44, and it loops back to highway 44 about 7 miles from where we exited the highway.  In total, it was just about a 50 mile ride.  It is known for two things…great Geological formations and changes, and wildlife.  We saw the first, but other than little creatures (rodents) skirting across the road and some birds, we saw nothing of the wildlife.  In fact, we liked it so much, we did it twice…first from 11:30-1:30 and a second time from 5:30-7:30, but in the opposite direction along the loop.  As I have said before, be sure to click on the pictures to see larger ones…especially this one above…the swirls in the mountain and various colors are a sight to see.

Sunset, Lucerne Valley, Flaming Gorge
First, last night Skruffy and I drove west from the campground towards the highway, where there is a scenic overlook looking over Linwood bay…where the town of Linwood once stood until the government bought all the land so that the reservoir could fill the area where the town once stood.  This town was a border town…half in Utah and half in Wyoming.  The school was built right on the state line, so funding came from both states.  By the early 1950’s, the town was pretty much drying up…although the post office operated until 1958.  They demolished or moved all the old buildings, and it is now covered by Linwood Bay, part of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. 

Sunset, Lucerne Valley, Flaming Gorge       Sunset, Lucerne Valley, Flaming Gorge

I always look to the east (picture left) and to the north (picture right) or south to see if the sunset is bringing color to the areas surrounding where I am…hit two of three with this sunset…the view to the south was a bit boring.

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge11 of the 12 miles is paved…they are working on paving the final mile.  There are a few areas where you have pot holes, but very few.  For the most part, it is a very good road to drive on, don’t expect to go over 25 mph on most of it.  There is a climb, or drop depending on which way you go, of nearly 1,000 feet which covers about 2 miles of the route.

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge    Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge
Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge    Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge

There are various signs which talk about the type of rock/dirt/sand formations, and there are online travel guides that you can get to take with you…but don’t expect any cell reception along most of the drive.  I am just going to post some pictures in the order we took them to give you an idea of how rapidly, sometimes, the look of the rocks change.  Sometimes it was drastically different on one side of the road from the other.

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge        Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge

The weather was a calm 70-72 degrees, it was cloudy, but no rain…not even a sprinkle.  Unlike yesterday, we did not turn on the A/C in the motorhome, and for the most part, had the windows down while we drove through the canyon with the car.  Motorhomes “could” make the drive through the canyon, Class C motorhomes would have no problems, but anything over a 40’ Class A could have trouble with a few turns…but with little to no traffic it is doable.  We took the car.

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge     Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge
Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge     Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge

Coming in from the direction we did (north entrance of the loop), you enter the canyon fairly quickly, and there is little elevation change.

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge

As you come out of the canyon, you start to climb, and of course, the road zigs and zags.  About half way up there is a large pullout, and you can look down into the valley and the canyon below (top picture above), or look up at the mountain which you still have to climb part way up before you go around it (bottom picture above).
Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming GorgeSoon you come to a dirt road turn off, and you have multiple choices of places to go.  We could have taken it to Browne Lake, but I was told at the visitor’s center at Red Canyon that Sprit Lake still had snow…4 wheel drive was advised for anything beyond Browne Lake.  Being that this was a dirt road, we did not take it, and continued on our loop trip.

Sheep Creek Overlook, Flaming Gorge

Back on highway 44, we start back for home.  There was one vista point that we had not visited yet, it is the Sheep Creek Overlook.

Sheep Creek Overlook, Flaming Gorge

One thing about Flaming Gorge, like the other canyons we have visited, there are so many twists and turns of the river below, that there are many many different views of the canyon below.  This area here is where the canyon starts or ends, depending upon how you look at it.  Where we are camping, it is more like a lake…where that mountain range is directly center on the other side of the water is where the beginning of the canyon is, headed to and past the dam.  Our campground is on the other side of that mountain, and a bit to the left.

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, Flaming Gorge
On our return trip we did not take very many pictures of the mountains, but this mountain here is the same one as the first picture of this blog post, but from a different angle, and with different lighting.  I show it because this is the type of drive that you want to take going both ways, and at different times of the day. 

Tomorrow we head west to Lake Jordanelle for a few days, which makes it easy to visit my daughter down in Salt Lake City.  Then off to Sacramento for the Celebration of Life on Saturday for my aunt.

4 comments:

  1. That scenery is just spectacular!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At times I thought I was driving through a miniature Yosemite or Zion National Park...without waterfalls of course. It sure was pretty, and very very few cars or people.

      Delete
    2. Shhh..don't tell everyone! It's kind of nice how everybody flocks to the well known and well publicized places and all of the other beautiful places are left for us intrepid travelers to explore without the crowds and traffic. :-)

      Delete
    3. And it was Father's Day weekend too...yes, the park was pretty full, but the non-hook up part was only 1/2 open and it only had a handful of tents/RVs there. We really enjoyed it...

      Delete

We love to hear comments from our readers. All comments are moderated by Dave before added to the website. Spam, advertisers and rude comments are deleted, and due to high spam attempts, Anonymous Users cannot post, sorry....register for a Google ID, it is free and it is easy to setup.

Recent Comments