DescriptionIn the northeast corner of Utah, Ashley National Forest includes the only major mountain range in the lower 48 states with an east-west alignment—the Uintas. Ashley National Forest embraces this area and the pinion-juniper and ponderosa pine-covered benchland along the Green River. One of the major water-producing areas in the state of Utah, the forest was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908.
The forest contains most of the High Uintas Wilderness, the spectacular Red Canyon of the Green River, and 13,528-foot Kings Peak, the highest of Utah's mountains. Flaming Gorge Dam and National Recreation Area provides many recreational and scenic opportunities. This 502-foot-high dam is 1,180 feet long and contains water for 91 miles. Hunting for pronghorn antelopes, mule deer, elk, mountain lions and black bears is allowed in the forest.
Several drives provide access to areas of scenic and geological interest. The Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway (US 191), Utah's first national forest scenic byway, extends from Vernal to the Wyoming border, traversing an area in which a billion years of Earth's history lie exposed. The Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, north and west of the byway, is reached via US 191 and another paved road. The Red Cloud Loop, a dirt and gravel road that is rough in spots, is a scenic forest drive that can be accessed near Vernal.
Camping is available in improved sites and backcountry areas throughout the forest. For camping reservations contact the National Recreation Reservation System; phone (877) 444-6777, or TTY (877) 833-6777.
For further information contact the Forest Supervisor, Ashley National Forest, 355 N. Vernal Ave., Vernal, UT 84078; phone (435) 789-1181.
Mountain DrivingDriving through scenic mountains in the western United States can be the high point of your long-awaited vacation—or it can be disastrous. The trick is to know what to expect and to be prepared. By taking a little time before you leave, you can eliminate most potential problems before they happen.
Many tips for safe mountain driving are purely common sense and apply to driving in general: Before you begin your trip, check the weather and road conditions along the way and at your destination; let a member of your family or a friend know where you're going and the route you plan on taking, including stops along the way; keep your gas tank near full, as service stations may be far apart; make sure your car and your tires are in tip-top shape; observe posted speed limits, especially on narrow, winding roads; keep a first-aid kit in your car; and stop every 2-3 hours to stretch and help prevent fatigue.
Remember that high elevations can mean changing weather and road conditions. If you are traveling in winter, make sure you have the following items in your vehicle: a scraper, tire chains, booster cables, shovel, flashlight, blanket, warm clothing and nonperishable food. Be aware that high altitudes (usually above 8,000 feet) can cause headaches, shortness of breath or a lack of energy.
Downshifting to a lower gear when going up or down steep grades will lessen engine and brake stress. Leaving your air conditioner off while ascending a steep hill will also help eliminate strain on your engine. On downhill slopes, tap your brakes instead of applying full pressure in order to avoid overheating and possible brake failure. Consider changing to a brake fluid listed as DOT 4; this grade has a higher boiling point and is recommended for mountain-driving conditions.
Experts advise that it is best to maintain a steady speed whenever possible when driving mountain roads in winter; it is also best not to engage your cruise control in wintry driving situations. Try to avoid starting or stopping suddenly. If you encounter slippery or icy roads, remember the technique of applying gentle pressure on your brakes; this will help avoid skidding or spinning. If you do find yourself in a skid, stay calm, take your foot off the accelerator or brake and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. Be aware that it takes longer to stop on snow or ice, so give yourself plenty of time. And when you do stop, be sure to set your emergency brake.
Things to SeeHigh Uintas Wilderness