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Sheep Creek Canyon s(u)

This road is perfect for a bicycling geologist - although such a person may have a hard time, deciding weather to keep going or stop to examine the rocks. Actually, by most people's standards, this is a great ride - what little traffic there is, is slow and there for the rocks, not to get anywhere. The road is still fairly wide, but it has a more intimate character than your typical US highway. All the above applies to the Sheep Creek Canyon approach on the left side of the profile. The other side is a typical US highway, but with views, that reach farther to the horizon.

1.(00.0m,6250ft)START-END EAST-1: jct Ut44 - Sheep Creek Canyon
2.(11.2m,8230ft)TOP: Sheep Creek Canyon s(u)
3.(11.5m,8220ft)jct with FR221 to Long Park Reservoir on right
4.(14.6m,7640ft)profile turns left onto Ut44
5.(19.3m,6180ft)START-END EAST-2: low point on Ut44 at turnoff to Flaming Gorge Reservoir


Approaches

From West.
Ut44 hits a low point several miles south of Manila in the canyon of Sheep Creek, a short distance before it surrenders its water to the Flaming Gorge evaporation pond (also called "reservoir" on maps).

At the turnoff the Sheep Creek Canyon road gives the impression of being heavily graveled. But there is a hard surface underneath and the gravel is present only on short stretches near the bottom. The road stays next to Sheep Creek, splashing through the bushes next to the road. In the next miles it crosses a picture book of geologic formations, starting with the Moenkopi formation and ending with the precambrian Uinta Group. All formations are labeled with road side signs, though sometimes they transition so quickly that you don't know which formation the sign points to.

Two switchbacks lead the road out of the canyon and confront the cycling geologist with a picture perfect picture of a monocline along the Uinta fault. The rock layer goes from horizontal to a deep dive into the ground. This is the last of the great rock scences. The road exits the Sheep Creek Geologic area and climbs steeply, surrounded by open forest. The straight away across the top contains three spots eligible for being possibly the highest point. I think it is the first one, immediately before the jct with FR221.



From South. (described downwards). Looking back you can catch the only glimpse of the gentle snow covered Uinta Crest on this ride. A quick roll leads through an open meadow.backed by a gentle variety of Uinta slopes. Before the jct with Ut44, a sign illustrates the geologic history of the Uinta Mountains, from stress fractures to rift valley, later filled in with sediments to mountain building episodes contemporaneous with the Rocky Mountains. The mountains have been stable for the 60 million years - hence their rounded appearance.

The profile goes left back down to the low point on Sheep Creek, passing a real life picture, of what could pass as an advertisement image for Flaming Gorge, and also a nice far view of lower Sheep Creek Canyon.


A Ride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: FR221 Uinta Mountains s(u)


cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow




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