My expectations were low for Day 8, even though I knew I would be driving through some remarkably beautiful places. The weather was against me, and there was no direction I could drive to find sunshine. So, I headed north from Vernal, up US 191 — the Flaming Gorge-Uintas Scenic Byway.
After leaving Vernal, US 191 skirts the edge of Steinaker Reservoir, then passes through some impressive outcroppings of red rock. A few miles up the road, the highway gains some elevation, providing a nice view to the south. That body of water on the other side of the red rock isn’t Steinaker Reservoir, though — it’s Red Fleet Reservoir, home to Red Fleet State Park. The best reasons to visit Red Fleet State Park is the fishing and boating opportunities, but I imagine the scenery is pretty spectacular, too.
By the time I reached a higher elevation (above 8,000 feet in the Ashley National Forest), I was socked in by fog.
I tried to enjoy some scenic spots, but the weather covered up everything above the horizon. The temperature had plunged, as well. While it never dipped below freezing, I did end up driving through snow for a few miles. I think that’s the first time I’d ever done that in June.
Eventually the fog and snow eased up a bit, and the views got a little better. I had seen these same areas before, in 2008, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed to miss out on some good pictures this time. I still managed to get some good photos, looking towards Red Canyon…
… and further down the road, as U-44 drops down into Sheep Creek Canyon. If the weather was better, I would have taken the Sheep Creek Loop, which heads further into the canyon.
At the town of Manila, U-44 ends, and you can take U-43 either east or west. I chose west, and headed into Wyoming, and eventually to Interstate 80.
Here’s a time-lapse dash-cam video of the drive from Vernal to the Flaming Gorge area…
… and from the UT/WY state line to Interstate 80, and on to Evanston, Wyoming: