Mirror Lake Scenic Byway
Fall scene on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is a 78-mile route through the Uinta Mountains of southwestern Wyoming and northeastern Utah connecting Kamas, Utah with Evanston, Wyoming. About 20 miles of the route is in Wyoming, the rest in Utah. The Wyoming section is open year round but 42 miles of the Utah section is closed by snow in the winter (that part of the road contained within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest).
The Uinta Mountains are the highest mountains in Utah. They are rugged and very snowy. Around them is a massive forest of Ponderosa pine, spruce, Douglas fir and quaking aspen.
The route south from Evanston crosses out of the Wyoming sagebrush-covered high plains and into that forested region. The photo at the top of this page shows what that is like. As the road gets closer to the mountains, grassy meadows open up, then come streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands. The centerpiece of the route is Mirror Lake, made famous by both photographers and fishermen. South from Mirror Lake the road rises to cross over Bald Mountain Pass (10,687') where the overlook affords great views of the Uinta Mountains and of the Wasatch Mountains further to the south. From Bald Mountain Pass the road drops down to the headwaters of the Provo River, then follows that river down to Kamas.
The Provo River is also a blue-ribbon trout stream and at Upper Provo River Falls, there's a collection of walkways that lead along the river as it makes a series of terraced cascades down the hill.
There are several developed campgrounds along the stretch of road in the National Forest, and picnic sites and trailheads that lead high into the mountains, some of them all the way to the High Uintas Wilderness. There are also more than a few pullouts and overlooks to tempt the sight-seeing traveler...
Mirror Lake, in the Uinta Mountains
Small photo courtesy of AE Crane via Byways.org