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GREAT SALT LAKE BIRDING TRAILS:
AREA DESCRIPTIONS FOR SITES 31 - 40

Below are area descriptions of:
[31]  Mill Creek
[32]  Big Cottonwood Canyon
[32a]  Albion basin
[33]  Rock Cliff Nature Center & Upper Provo
[33a]  Jordanelle Hawkwatch Study Site
[34]  Provo River Restoration Project
[35]  Mirror Lake Highway
[36]  Strawberry Reservoir & Valley
[37]  Diamond Fork/Hobble Creek Loop
[38]  Jordan River
[39]  Provo Bay
[39a]  Powell Slough
[40]  Utah Lake Wetlands Preserve



  [31]  MILL CREEK  
Mill Creek canyon is good for owls and many other birds. If birding in the dark for owls, the use of recorded calls is discouraged. Just listen and enjoy the natural night sounds. In early spring, Northern Saw-whet Owls have been heard calling near the Terraces Picnic area. A favorite walk is up Desolation Lake trail. The trailhead is 3.3 miles east of the road junction with Wasatch Boulevard.

Look for Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Blue Grouse, White-throated Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush and Western Tanager. Higher elevation birds (these often winter at low elevations) include Clark's Nutcracker, Steller's Jay, and Townsend's Solitaire.

HABITATS: Steep-walled stream with cliffs, mountain shrub, and riparian habitats

FEATURED BIRDS: Great-horned Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Flammulated Owl

SEASON: All year with fall, winter and spring best

LOCATION: Exit from I-215 at 39th South (South Salt Lake City) and head east. Turn left at Wasatch Boulevard and travel to 3800 South, then east into the canyon.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by the Wasatch-Cache National Forest

NOTES: Accessible restroom, fee area
(You will find more information on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest HERE )
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  [32]  BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON  
This canyon offers ski areas in the winter and cool relief in the summer. Birding is good all along the canyon, but favorite spots include the Spruces Campground, Silver Lake trail, and Desolation Lake trail.

The Spruces is located about 10 miles up the canyon and good for Red-naped Sapsucker, Western Wood-Pewee, Hammond's Flycatcher, Mountain Chickadee, Townsend's Solitaire, Cassin's Finch, and Fox Sparrow. From the Spruces parking lot (where there is a restroom) cross the road to the north side of Mill D to begin the Desolation Lake Trail. The Silver Lake trail is near the Brighton Village store and provides an opportunity for Three-toed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeak, Blue Grouse, and Red Crossbill.

HABITATS: Riparian, aspen, spruce-fir, and steep slopes FEATURED BIRDS: Williamson's Sapsucker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Spotted Sandpiper, Olive-sided Flycatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln's Sparrow, Calliope Hummingbird, MacGillivray's Warbler, and Black Rosy-Finch (rare)

SEASON: All year (some areas accommodate ski areas in winter)

LOCATION: From the southeast corner of Salt Lake City (7200 South), take UT-152 toward Brighton.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private lands mixed with public lands managed by the Wasatch-Cache National Forest

NOTES: Accessible restroom
(You will find more information on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest HERE )
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  [32a]  ALBION BASIN  
Little Cottonwood Canyon goes from low riparian and montane vegetation (4500 feet) to high elevation alpine vegetation with Albion Basin being at the top of the canyon. Birding opportunities are similar to Big Cottonwood Canyon. Albion Basin is probably better known for its spectacular wildflower display in early August than for its birding opportunities.

HABITATS: Variable, low to high elevation

FEATURED BIRDS: Gray-crowned and Black Rosy-Finch (at the resorts in winter), Red Crossbill, Clark's Nutcracker, and numerous Rufous Hummingbirds during the August flower season

SEASON: All year (ski area in winter)

LOCATION: Drive east of Sandy on UT-209 to the junction with UT-210 and then up Little Cottonwood Canyon.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mixed private and public, the public land managed by the Wasatch-Cache National Forest

NOTES: Some access restrictions during peak summer use
(You will find more information on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest HERE )
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  [33]  ROCK CLIFF NATURE CENTER & UPPER PROVO RIVER  
Birding is good on the many trails associated with the Rock Cliff Recreation Area and Nature Center. This area is along the Provo River just before it enters Jordanelle Reservoir. Check out the bird feeders at the Nature Center for hummingbirds, Cassin's Finch, and American Goldfinch before strolling along the many trails and boardwalks looking for Gray Catbird, American Dipper, Spotted Sandpiper, Hermit Thrush, Belted Kingfisher, Bullock's Oriole, Song Sparrow, and many swallows.

Check out Jordanelle Reservoir for Osprey, Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe, Common Merganser, Common Loon (migration), Bald Eagle (winter), and many waterfowl. The upper Provo River is reached by going east through Woodland then toward Wolf Creek Pass on UT-35. Bird from the road through the private land and then walk trails from the road after reaching the National Forest property sign.

HABITATS: Stream, cottonwood riparian, and small ponds, then coniferous forest on the Upper Provo River

FEATURED BIRDS: American Dipper, Cassin's Finch, and Belted Kingfisher

SEASON: Spring, summer, fall

LOCATION: On US-40 drive 2 miles north of Heber, then take UT-32 east, travel 6 miles to the entrance of Rock Cliff Recreation Area. The area can also be reached by going 2 miles south of Kamas, then west to the nature center, or east to the upper Provo River area.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public Land managed by Utah Parks and Recreation Division; much of the upper Provo River area is public land managed by the Uinta National Forest.

NOTES: Accessible restroom, fee area, nature center
(You will find more information on the Jordanelle Reservoir HERE )
(You will find more information on the Uinta National Forest HERE )
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  [33a]  JORDANELLE HAWKWATCH STUDY SITE  
The Jordanelle Raptor Migration Project began in the spring of 1997 when HawkWatch International conducted a standardized migration count on a hilltop adjacent to the Jordanelle Reservoir near Heber City, Utah. In 1998 and 1999, HawkWatch expanded the project to include an observation team, on-site education activities, and an experimental banding station. Weather permitting, counts occur daily from February 24 to May 5 each year and visitors are welcome at any time. Because the success of the experimental banding station was limited, no banding occurred during the 2000 season. However, HawkWatch plans to explore future banding options.

HABITATS: Scrub-oak shrublands

FEATURED BIRDS: Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, accipiters, and Red-tailed Hawks

SEASON: The seasonal activity at the site typically includes two peaks. The first, modest peak occurs from mid-to-late-March, when passage of eagles and Red-tailed Hawks is highest. The second, higher peak occurs in mid-to-late April when passage of most other species is highest.

LOCATION: Turn east on UT-32, 2 miles north of Heber. Take the first left and travel 1.1 miles towards Jordanelle Reservoir Dam to Cottonwood Canyon Access Point. Park in the lot and proceed on foot across the gated bridge and continue uphill on the main roadway. After about 1/4 mile, the road passes under US 40. About 50 yards after passing under US 40, leave the road and follow the primitive flagged trail north. After going over a small hill, follow the primitive flagged trail up the hill to the study site (approximately 1.5 miles).

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by the Bureau of Reclamation

NOTES: No facilities
(You will find more information on the Hawkwatch International HERE )
(You will find more information on the Jordanelle Reservoir HERE )
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  [34]  PROVO RIVER RESTORATION PROJECT  
This restoration project is part of the mitigation effort for the wetlands lost with the creation of Jordanelle Reservoir. Good for many western riparian birds, the area continues to improve as restoration projects develop. The area was recognized as a place of special importance for birds and bird watchers through a joint project of the Bureau of Reclamation and the American Birding Association that identified one outstanding site per state on property managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. This was the outstanding site chosen in Utah. Acknowledging the partnership, a sign at the site reads: "An outstanding riparian corridor and adjoining wetlands combine to make this one of Utah's most attractive areas for birds. A variety of neotropical migrants breed here, and an even greater number descend on this site during spring and fall migration. At these times the birds provide a brief, but dazzling, burst of color."

HABITATS: Stream, riparian, and marsh

FEATURED BIRDS: Least Flycatcher, American Dipper, and Cedar Waxwing

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Turn east on UT-32, 2 miles north of Heber. Take the first left and travel 1.1 miles towards Jordanelle Reservoir Dam to Cottonwood Canyon Access Point.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by Bureau of Reclamation

NOTES: Accessible restroom and walking trails
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  [35]  MIRROR LAKE HIGHWAY  
The Mirror Lake highway is heavily used during the summer. There are many recreation areas along the highway. Lower elevation pine stands are good for Western Tanager, Townsend's Solitaire, Brown Creeper, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. At higher elevations, Gray-crowned and Black Rosy-Finch are most likely viewed near Bald Mountain overlook and picnic area. Look along the base of Bald Mountain, north and east of picnic area, or up the Bald Mountain trail. Also at higher elevations look for Three-toed Woodpecker, Williamson's Sapsucker, Mountain Bluebird and more. The lower elevation meadows along the Bear River before reaching Evanston, Wyoming are good for Sandhill Crane, Mountain Bluebird and more.

HABITATS: Pine forests at lower elevations, then high mountain meadows with small tree clumps (Krummholz). Several small lakes are near the road. Stream, riparian, and wet meadows are found on the Evanston side of the trip.

FEATURED BIRDS: Three-toed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Pine Grosbeak and Gray-crowned and Black Rosy-Finch.

SEASON: Summer only, road closed in winter

LOCATION: Take UT-150 east from Kamas. The road ends in Evanston, Wyoming.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by Wasatch-Cache National Forest

NOTES: Accessible restroom, fee area
(You will find more information on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest HERE )
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  [36]  STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR AND VALLEY  
There are many opportunities for birding in the Strawberry Valley. Featured species are not always found, but there is a possibility for Sage Grouse, Northern Pygmy Owl, Northern Goshawk, Yellow-breasted Chat, Fox Sparrow, and Sandhill Crane. We recommend stopping at the Strawberry Reservoir visitor center for more specific information and maps.

HABITATS: Open water, riparian, shrub, juniper, spruce-fir, aspen, and mountain meadow

FEATURED BIRDS: Sage Grouse and Swainson's Hawk

SEASON: Summer.

LOCATION: Approximately 23 miles southeast of Heber on US-40 (Daniels Canyon)

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by Uinta National Forest

NOTES: Accessible restroom, visitor center
(You will find more information on the Strawberry Reservoir HERE )
(You will find more information on the Uinta National Forest HERE )
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  [37]  DIAMOND FORK/HOBBLE CREEK LOOP  
A scenic drive through several habitat types. This road offers a variety of scenic views with opportunities to observe many of the common Wasatch Mountain birds.

HABITATS: Riparian woodland, Gambel Oak, Bigtooth Maple with aspen and Douglas fir at higher elevations.

FEATURED BIRDS: Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse, Blue Grouse, Fox Sparrow, and Gray Catbird.

SEASON: Spring, summer, and fall (road closed in winter)

LOCATION: Turn north from US-6/US-89 ten miles southeast of Spanish Fork, continue to Diamond Fork, then proceed down Hobble Creek to Springville. [NOTE: Diamond Fork Canyon road is open to the campground; however, until approximately 2006, the road beyond the campground as far as Springville Crossings will be closed to construct a water pipeline. Ray's Valley Road and Hobble Creek Road will remain open. Contact the Uinta National Forest for alternative route information: (801) 342-5100.]

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mixed ownership with public land managed by the Uinta National Forest

NOTES: Accessible restroom
(You will find more information on the Uinta National Forest HERE )
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  [38]  JORDAN RIVER  
From 123rd South to Bangerter Highway a paved trail winds through floodplains to the largest remaining wet meadow along the Jordan. While this area is some of the best riparian breeding habitat in the Salt Lake Valley, only a small portion of the over 200 species seen along the Jordan stay for the summer. Look for Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Bank Swallow, Common Snipe, and Savannah Sparrow. In winter the Jordan always holds surprises. Look along the floodplain's eastern edge where chokecherry, skunkbush, and other shrubs are found around the seeps that keep the old Galena canal sections wet year-round. The trail currently ends at Bangerter Highway. .

HABITATS: Low elevation riparian woodland and meadowland

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: 123rd South is accessible from I-15 Exit #294 (Draper/Riverton/Highway 71), then right (west) on 123rd South across river to 1300 West, left (south) to Riverton Golf Course entrance, park just before golf course at Salt Lake South County Pool lot. Trail heads down hill and across the footbridge. Or access the site via Redwood Road (Highway 68 to 126rd South, left (east) to 1300 West then as above).

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mitigation Commission, Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, and State of Utah

NOTES: Restroom availability unknown
(You will find more information on the Jordan River HERE and HERE )
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  [39]  PROVO BAY  
This is a rich area for marsh birds and waterfowl. The fresh water of Utah Lake provides different habitat characteristics than the salt water of the Great Salt Lake.

HABITATS: Open water and marsh

FEATURED BIRDS: Abundant waterfowl and shorebirds

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Drive west from I-15 at Exit #263 on Utah-77 to the Spanish Fork River bridge, then go north to the access point to Provo Bay. Many trails in the area allow marsh access. Another access point is at Exit #265 (Springville), go west of the interstate and instead of going south on the frontage road turn right (north), cross a cattle guard, and park in a small graveled lot. A third access point is at the Provo Airport Dike.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mixed state and private land

NOTES: Restroom availability unknown
(You will find more information on Provo Bay and birding in Utah County HERE )
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  [39a]  POWELL SLOUGH  
More area is open during the fall hunting season than at other times of the year. Water proof boots are needed. The preferred birding area is at the end of the road and then birding north to the Orem City water/sewage treatment plant. There is an elevated spot on the treatment plant property to better view the marsh.

HABITATS: Cattail marsh

FEATURED BIRDS: Waterfowl and marsh birds

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: From Provo, take the University Parkway exit from I-15, then go west through the industrial park to the end of the road. About 400 yards before the end of the road there is a parking spot on the south side of the road, then another parking spot on the north side of the road at the end of the road. Both are marked with UDWR signs.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR)

NOTES: Restroom availability unknown
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  [40]  UTAH LAKE WETLANDS PRESERVE  
This area is constantly improving and will be a showcase wetland management area in the future. The Preserve will include large areas of saltgrass playas and shoreline habitats. The authors of this document would welcome additional details about birding and bird species to see as this site develops. If you have any information, send an e-mail to: bkevans4@comcast.net .

HABITATS: Marsh and open water

FEATURED BIRDS: Snowy Plover, Bobolink, Long-billed Curlew and Bald Eagle (winter)

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Travel west from I-15 on UT-6 from Santaquin. Take the Genola exit and proceed north through the orchards and farms toward the west side of West Mountain. LeBaron Point is accessed via a gravel road at the north end of the agricultural area and is signed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Access to the south end of Goshen Bay Wetlands is obtained by turning north at Main Street in Goshen and continuing until the road ends.

LAND OWNERSHIP: State owned land at LeBaron Point and checkerboard public and private land elsewhere -- if in doubt, seek permission

NOTES: Restroom availability is unknown
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DESCRIPTIONS:
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