HOME Utah
Birding
Trails
Descriptions of
Eastern Utah Areas:
1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-48


DESCRIPTIONS OF EASTERN UTAH
BIRDING AREAS:
41 - 48

Below are descriptions of:
[41]  Lloyd's Lake
[42]  Abajo Mountain and Harts Draw Loop
[43]  South Elk Ridge
[44]  Montezuma Canyon
[45]  Comb Wash
[46]  Devil's Canyon Campground
[47]  Sand Island Campground
[48]  Starr Springs


  [41]  Lloyd's Lake
This small reservoir near Monticello is worth a stop for water birds and, in the spring for passerines, especially at the cottonwood grove along the inlet at the West end of the reservoir.

HABITATS: Open water and low elevation riparian.

FEATURED BIRDS: Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Spotted Towhee and various waterfowl species.

SEASON: Best in spring, summer, and fall.

LOCATION: Drive west from Main Street in Monticello on 200 South (which becomes Abajo Dr.) for .9 miles. Head south on the road marked to Lloyd's Lake and drive to the end of the pavement to park.

GPS COORDINATES: 37 50' 48"N, 109 22' 12"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: City of Monticello.

NOTES: All facilities are available in nearby Monticello.

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


  [42]  Abajo Mountain and Harts Draw Loop
The Abajo Mountain and Harts Draw loop is an approximately 40-mile drive, all on paved roads. Habitats vary from residential in Monticello through mountain shrub, aspen, and into spruce-fir forests then dropping down to lower elevation sagebrush and desert shrub habitats before circling back on UT-211 and US-191 to Monticello. The road tops out at an elevation of 8,800 feet and is closed in the winter.

Although locals often referred to the mountain range as "the blues," the "Abajo" name dates back to the Old Spanish Trail days when they were called the Sierra de Abajo. Abajo being the Spanish name for low, below, or down. Look for Cooper's Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Plumbeous Vireo, Steller's Jay, warblers of the conifer and aspen habitats, House Wren and more. The lower elevation Harts Draw is a designated Bird Habitat Conservation Area (BHCA) with big-sagebrush steppe being the featured priority habitat.

A worthwhile side trip is to Newspaper Rock, a significant rock art site, just two miles west of where the Harts Draw Road junctions with UT-211. Driving east on UT-211 takes you back to US-191 north of Monticello. The Newspaper Rock area is at a low elevation site and can be visited yearlong. Additional information can be found in advertisements for the Squaw Flats Scenic Byway and the Abajo Loop Scenic Backway.

HABITATS: Sagebrush, mountain brush, pinyon-juniper, aspen, and spruce-fir forests.

FEATURED BIRDS: Brewer's Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, and Sage Thrasher at lower elevations and Hermit Thrush, Mountain Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Western Tanager at higher elevations.

SEASON: Yearlong at lower elevations, but summer and fall only for the entire loop on Abajo Mountain.

LOCATION: From Monticello, the Blue Mountain Road goes west from Main Street on 200 South. The road gains elevation into the Abajo Mountains, turns to the north, then drops down the Harts Draw Road. Return to Monticello via UT-211 and US-191.

GPS COORDINATES: Monticello Lake, 37 53' 35"N, 109 28' 05"W; Newspaper Rock, 37 58' 58"N, 109 30' 14"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Primarily Manti-La Sal National Forest.

NOTES: This is remote country, we recommend starting with a full tank of gas, a good spare tire, and carrying food and water.

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


  [43]  South Elk Ridge
The ponderosa pine forests on the top of the 9,000 foot Elk Ridge plateau support a large diversity of wildlife. South Elk Ridge has been designated a Bird Habitat Conservation Area (BHCA 20). Priority birds for the BHCA are Lewis's Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Flammulated Owl, Pygmy Nuthatch, Mexican Spotted Owl, and Grace's Warbler. The area has one of the few populations of Abert's (tassel eared) squirrels in Utah. Deer and elk are commonly observed.

Excellent primitive camping, although no water is available. The main access roads are graded and generally suited to all types of vehicles. Sections may be impassable when wet or snow covered.

An interesting side trip while in the area is to the Natural Bridges National Monument. The paved road (UT-275) is mostly along the mesa top and above the deeply incised canyons. Along the road in pinyon-juniper woodlands and desert grasslands, look for Pinyon Jay, Lark Sparrow, Bushtit, American Kestrel, and more. When at the overlooks, listen for Canyon Wren.

UT-95 from Blanding to Hanksville has been designated the Bicentennial Scenic Byway. This 133-mile drive across rugged canyon country features scenic views of the Henry Mountains, Glen Canyon, Natural Bridges National Monument, ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) dwellings and more. Nearby attractions include Goblin Valley State Park, Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway, Moki Dugway, Hovenweep National Monument, Squaw Flats Scenic Byway and Abajo Loop Scenic Backway.

HABITATS: Pinyon-juniper woodland and ponderosa pine forests.

FEATURED BIRDS: Williamson's Sapsucker, Red-naped Sapsucker, and Brown Creeper.

SEASON: Summer and fall.

LOCATION: South Elk Ridge is reached by driving west on UT-95 (south of Blanding) to UT-275, towards Natural Bridges National Monument. Then from UT-275 (one mile from UT-95), take FR-088 (Elk Mountain Road) through the Bears Ears pass (8,507 feet in elevation) to the top of Elk Ridge. It is approximately 11 miles to the ponderosa pine forest around Kigalia Point from the road junction with UT-275.

GPS COORDINATES: Kigalia Canyon Trailhead, 37 40' 06"N, 109 50' 02"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Manti-La Sal National Forest.

NOTES: This is remote country, we recommend starting with a full tank of gas, a good spare tire, and carrying food and water.

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


  [44]  Montezuma Canyon
The first 9 miles of the Montezuma Canyon Road from US-191 south of Monticello is recommended. This section includes some of the cottonwood forests and could be a side trip from the very scenic and productive Devils Canyon Campground (site #46). The turn around point, for this section, would be at Houghton's Cliff House. Important for birds because of large concentration of cottonwoods and is an important corridor for migrating birds. One of the highest density areas of nesting Cooper's Hawk in Utah. Other interesting birds include Willow Flycatcher, Pinyon Jay, Yellow-breasted Chat, Black-throated Gray Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Brewer's Sparrow, Cordilleran Flycatcher, and Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

The Montezuma Canyon Road (County Road 146) is about 35 miles long if traveled from the US-191 junction to the junction with County Road 414 at the Hatch Trading Post.

HABITATS: Lowland riparian and canyon land.

FEATURED BIRDS: Gambel's Quail, Cooper's Hawk, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Pinyon Jay.

SEASON: Yearlong.

LOCATION: From Monticello, drive south for approximately 5 miles on US-191, then turn east on the Montezuma Canyon Road. This unimproved road goes south to the Hatch Trading Post near Hovenweep National Monument. Approximately 35 miles if more than the first 9 miles (recommended) is traveled.

GPS COORDINATES: Junction of US-191 and Montezuma Canyon Road, 37 47' 58"N, 109 20' 17"W. Houghton's Cliff House, 37 44' 05"N, 109 15' 03"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private, BLM, and Tribal Land.

NOTES: Recommended for high clearance vehicles only.

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


  [45]  Comb Wash
There is a small grove of cottonwoods where UT-95 crosses Comb Wash. This is a good spot for a quick break or picnic while birding the area. Comb Wash is on the "Trail of Ancients" which is a 100-mile loop from Bluff west on US-163 to UT-261 north to UT-95 east to US-191 and south to Bluff. The trail features scenic views, cultural artifacts, and remains of ancestral Puebloan villages. The UT-261 portion of this loop includes the Moki Dugway which is an interesting switchback road over a 1,000 foot cliff face. Some describe the road as awesome, some just say scary. Sand Island (site #47) is also on the Trail of Ancients National Scenic Byway. Butler Wash is just on the east side of Comb Ridge and has a trailhead to several trails in the area. County Road 235 is unimproved, but passable during dry weather and goes south for approximately 17 miles to US-163 west of Bluff.

An interesting side trip while in the vicinity of Blanding is the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum. The museum is on the outskirts of Blanding and is well signed from US-191. The attractions feature prehistoric ruins and an outstanding array of ancestral Puebloan artifacts (formerly called Anasazi) and including the largest pottery collection in the Four-Corners area.

HABITATS: Dry desert uplands and cottonwood riparian.

FEATURED BIRDS: Mourning Dove, Wild Turkey, Summer Tanager and Bullock's Oriole.

SEASON: Best during cooler weather.

LOCATION: From the UT-95/US-191 junction south of Blanding, drive 14 miles west on UT-95. Birding is good on both sides of the road.

GPS COORDINATES: 37 30' 40"N, 109 39' 16"W

LAND OWNERSHIP: BLM managed campground.

NOTES: This area can be quite hot during mid-day in the summer months. Birding is best early morning and late evening. We recommend carrying food and water when traveling in the area.

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


  [46]  Devil's Canyon Campground
Devil's Canyon is a scenic ponderosa pine and mountain brush area best know for it's population of Abert's Squirrel. However, many birds inhabit the area. Acorn Woodpeckers have been reported close by. There is a great birding trail from the trailhead on Loop B of the campground. For a longer walk, check the information in the campground for the trail up Bulldog Canyon.

Two other interesting birding areas when traveling south on US-191 are the wastewater treatment ponds just south of Blanding and Recapture Reservoir. The most productive area on Recapture Reservoir is the northwest corner. A road goes west from US-191 along the north side of the reservoir.

HABITATS: Ponderosa pine, Gambel's oak, and pinyon-juniper.

FEATURED BIRDS: Acorn Woodpecker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Western Tanager, and Wild Turkey.

SEASON: Yearlong.

LOCATION: Turn west from US-191 for a short distance to end of pavement and the campground. The signed turnoff is approximately 38 miles south of Monticello or 8 miles north of Blanding.

GPS COORDINATES: 37 43' 55"N, 109 24' 54"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Manti-La Sal National Forest.

NOTES:

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


  [47]  Sand Island Campground
This riparian oasis is part of a cottonwood stand adjacent to the San Juan River. There is boat launch access to the San Juan River as this river is often used by colleges and universities for educational geological trips. In addition to the birding, the petroglyphs are quite interesting. The panel is noted for its large assembly of flute player petroglyphs in the San Juan basket maker style. At an elevation of 4,320 feet, summer temperatures can be quite hot.

The best time for birding along the riparian habitats of the San Juan is during the spring migration season. An additional activity while in the area is a float trip down the San Juan River from Sand Island Campground to Mexican Hat. This is a 27-mile float trip and takes two days. Contact BLM's Moab Field Office for details, permits and other information.

HABITATS: Cottonwood riparian, rock cliff, and river.

FEATURED BIRDS: Western Scrub-Jay and Canyon Wren.

SEASON: Yearlong.

LOCATION: Three miles southwest of Bluff on US-191 at milepost 22, or one mile east of the US-163/191 junction.

GPS COORDINATES: 37 15' 39"N, 109 36' 42"W

LAND OWNERSHIP: Managed by BLM.

NOTES: Fee area with restrooms. Interesting sites nearby include Goosenecks State Park and the Moki Dugway switchbacks.

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


  [48]  Starr Springs
Starr Springs Campground is on the east side of the Henry Mountains and is easily accessed with 2-wheel drive from UT-276 south of Hanksville. The Starr Springs sign is on UT-276 north of Ticaboo in Garfield County. Look for Common Nighthawk, Western Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, Gray Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Warbling Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Spotted Towhee, Lazuli Bunting, Lark Sparrow and more.

HABITATS: Riparian and pinyon-juniper woodland.

FEATURED BIRDS: Pinyon Jay, Gray Flycatcher, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

SEASON: Yearlong.

LOCATION: Drive south of Hanksville on UT-95 for 26 miles, then south on UT-276 for approximately 20 miles to the sign for Starr Springs. Then drive north on a gravel road for four miles to the site.

GPS COORDINATES: 37 50' 56"N, 110 39' 40"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: BLM.

NOTES: 12 campsites, drinking water, picnic sites.

Top Return to
Eastern Utah
Map & Key


HOME Utah
Birding
Trails
Descriptions of
Eastern Utah Areas:
1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-48