Utah’s US 89 North: Manti, Ephraim


US 89 provides a nice, scenic alternative to Interstate 15, headed north to Salt Lake City.  I was only going about half that distance, to the turnoff to U-31, the Energy Loop Byway.  Along the way, though, there was plenty to see and enjoy, starting with…

Ninemile Reservoir

This beautiful blue man-made lake is about halfway between Gunnison and Manti.  There’s a place at the edge of the road to pull off and enjoy the view, or you can join the fishermen gathered on the shore and cast a line.

The Ninemile Reservoir is a little more than a mile long, and about a half-mile wide. It’s stocked every year with at least 15,000 Rainbow Trout.

North of the reservoir, the pleasing scenery continues, all the way to…


It’s never a surprise to see a beautiful LDS church at, or near, the center of a small Utah town, and Manti is no exception.  The tidy downtown district has wide streets that were pretty quiet during my Sunday morning drive up US 89.

Wander one block away from Main Street and you’ll find an old blacksmith shop.

Back on Main Street, you’ll notice Manti’s historic city hall (dating back to 1882)…

… and the Sanpete County Court House.

In addition to the downtown church, the LDS church also has an impressive temple on the north end of town, built on a hill overlooking Manti.  I had seen the temple before, on a previous trip through town, so I only stopped to take one picture of it.  Check out my 2007 Yellowstone Trip for more on the Manti Temple, and the important role the town plays in the Mormon faith.


Ephraim is the largest town in Sanpete County. The small downtown is also home to Snow College.

On Main Street, you’ll find an impressive City Hall building…

… and the Towne Theatre, which is still showing flicks.  It dates back to at least 1940, and has a balcony and orchestra pit.

Ephraim celebrates its northern European roots with its annual Scandinavian Festival on Memorial Day weekend.  Expect a smorgasbord! For more info, click here.

I had planned on taking U-29 (Ephraim Canyon Road) across the mountains to U-10.  And I tried — but discovered that the highest points on this road were still snow-covered in early June. If the road is open, you can cross the mountains here, otherwise, you’ll need to take US 89 north to Fairview, then U-31 across to U-10.  The next page includes my detour up Ephraim Canyon Road, while the following page jumps ahead to U-31 – so you can jump ahead if you want to.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s a time-lapse dash-cam video of the drive from Salina to Fairview, Utah on US 89:

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