HOME GSL
BIRDING
MAP & KEY
AREA
DESCRIPTIONS:
1-10 11-20 21-25 26-30 31-40 41-49


GREAT SALT LAKE BIRDING TRAILS:
AREA DESCRIPTIONS FOR SITES 41 - 49

Below are area descriptions of:
[41]  Nebo Mt. Road
[42]  Mt. Timpanogos Loop
[43]  Burraston Ponds (Mona)
[44]  Lake Mt. Raptor Loop
[45]  Pony Express Trail
[46]  Fish Springs NWR
[47]  West Canyon & Grantsville
[47a]  Stansbury Park Wetlands
[48]  South Willow Canyon
[49]  Deep Creek Mountains



  [41]  NEBO MOUNTAIN ROAD  
This 38-mile scenic byway goes through many Wasatch Mountain habitat types and tops out at over 9,000 feet in elevation with some of the most spectacular scenery in the area. The fall colors are especially brilliant. Numerous campgrounds and trail systems are along the route. Birding the route should be combined with admiring the scenic overlooks. Look for Clark's Nutcracker, Western Tanager, Violet-green Swallow, and other Wasatch Mountain birds.

HABITATS: Mountain shrub, aspen, conifer forests

FEATURED BIRDS: Band-tailed Pigeon, Evening Grosbeak, Rufous Hummingbird, Blue Grouse, and Three-toed Woodpecker (rare)

SEASON: Summer only

LOCATION: Take I-15 Exit #254, go straight to the first light and turn left. Proceed to 600 East, turning right onto 600 East and traveling 3-4 miles to the mouth of Payson Canyon and the Nebo Scenic Loop. Follow the loop to Nephi.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by Uinta National Forest.

NOTES: Not much is known about this loop as a birding route. Feedback from any birders on the best stops along the route is welcome. There are restroom facilities at camping and picnic spots.
(You will find more information on the Uinta National Forest HERE )
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [42]  MOUNT TIMPANOGOS LOOP  
Starting at the mouth of American Fork Canyon, elevation about 5000 feet, Mount Timpanogos Loop road crests at about 8,000 feet. An alternate name would be the Utah Highway 92 loop as it is entirely on UT-92. As a scenic backway it is called the Alpine Scenic Loop. The winding paved road goes through mountain shrub, coniferous forest and aspen groves. The road passes on the east side of Mount Timpanogos which towers to 11,957 feet. One particularly attractive hike is along the first couple of miles of the Mount Timpanogos trail. The trailhead parking lot is well signed. Interesting birds include Black Swift (rare), White-throated Swift, Dusky and Hammond's Flycatcher, Lazuli Bunting, Hairy Woodpecker, and Warbling Vireo.

HABITATS: Mountain shrub, aspen, and conifer forests

FEATURED BIRDS: Black Swift (rare), Black Rosy-Finch (rare), and Blue Grouse plus several flycatchers

SEASON: Summer months only

LOCATION: Take I-15 Exit #287 (just south of Point of the Mountain), drive east and south on UT-92 until it junctions with US-189 in Provo Canyon, approximately 26 miles.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Primarily public land managed by Uinta National Forest

NOTES: Restroom facilities are available along the route at picnic and camping spots
(You will find more information on the Uinta National Forest HERE )
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [43]  BURRASTON PONDS (MONA)  
Burraston Ponds are fed by warm water springs, so the water is very clear and open (ice-free) all year. Many trees have grown up around the ponds, attracting passerine birds and providing cool shade in the summer. Many water birds, as well as passerines, use these ponds during spring and fall migrations. A birder never knows what bird species will be traveling through the area. Look for migrants like Evening Grosbeak, Caspian Tern, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. In summer, look for Western Kingbird, Great Horned Owl, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and more. During winter months, many species of waterfowl use the area. These small ponds, easily accessed from Interstate 15, provide a welcome rest stop from interstate driving. A campground is available for overnight visits.

HABITATS: Open water, grassland, and agriculture and trees surrounding the ponds

FEATURED BIRDS: Cinnamon Teal, Snowy Egret and Bullock's Oriole

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Exit I-15 at the Mona Exit, go west to the town of Mona, then south on the old highway for 1.7 miles. Turn west at the Burraston Pond sign to the area. Look for nesting Swainson's Hawk and Great Horned Owl in the trees near the road.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mixed private and state land

NOTES: Restroom facilities available
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [44]  LAKE MOUNTAIN RAPTOR LOOP  
The Utah Lake west shoreline around Lake Mountain and into Cedar Valley is good for raptors during all seasons. The best viewing with the most variety of raptors is in the late fall and winter. This is primarily an auto route but take time to stop and stretch while looking over the area for smaller birds not often seen while driving by. Look for raptors perching on the power poles and fence posts along the route. In winter look for Bald Eagles. In summer look for the Burrowing Owls that nest in the area. A side trip up Ophir Canyon is worth the effort. Near Fairfield take time to visit Camp Floyd and the Stagecoach Inn State Park to learn more about Pony Express Trail history.

HABITATS: Desert shrub, agriculture, pinyon-juniper

FEATURED BIRDS: Rough-legged Hawk, Prairie Falcon, and Golden Eagle

SEASON: Best in late fall and winter

LOCATION: Go west from Lehi to UT-68, then south to the junction with US-6 at Elberta. Then go west on US-6 to Tintic Junction and then north on UT-36. UT-36 will go through Tooele and junction with I-80 near the Great Salt Lake. A second option is to turn east on UT-73 (approximately 40 miles from Tintic Junction) and go through Fairfield back to Lehi.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mixed, mostly private

NOTES: Restroom options are widely spaced, but available in the small towns and at Camp Floyd
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [45]  PONY EXPRESS TRAIL  
This remote trail mixes history with birding. Some of the areas will seem bird-free as you travel over sparsely vegetated deserts. These stretches of road help you appreciate the fact that you are not carrying the mail via horseback. The birding is unique along the trail but the real highlight is Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge (see next site). Take time to visit the historical sites such as the Stagecoach Inn that was established in 1857. The trail is well marked, and more information can be obtained from the BLM or at other visitor centers. Be prepared for travel in a very remote area with no services for many miles. The word "prepared" means a full tank of gas, spare tire check and extra food and water, in addition to birding materials such as bird guide and binoculars.

HABITATS: Desert shrub, rock outcrops, grassland, pinyon-juniper woodland

FEATURED BIRDS: Horned Lark, Brewer's Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, and Golden Eagle

SEASON: All year, but best in spring and fall

LOCATION: Start at Lehi's main street which becomes UT-73 headed west. Pass through Fairfield (at one time the third largest city in the territory with a population of 7000), then to Camp Floyd, stopping at the Camp Floyd Stagecoach Inn State Park to pick up information. The Utah segment of the trail ends at Ibapah near the Nevada State line.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mixed private and public, the public land is managed by the BLM.

NOTES: This is an under-birded area so feedback to revise this document is welcome
(You will find more information on the Pony Express Trail HERE )
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [46]  FISH SPRINGS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE  
This is one of the most remote of all the National Wildlife Refuges. Very few birders spend much time at the refuge. Those who do are very impressed. Heat, bugs, and road closures during the breeding season make this a better birding spot during fall, winter, and spring (before May 15). Stop at the refuge headquarters to pick up an auto tour map and find out what areas are open to the public. This oasis is surrounded by relative barren mountains and deserts, so is attractive to many birds -- some quite rare for Utah. Over 250 species have been recorded at Fish Springs NWR, so look for the unusual. In addition to the featured birds, look for other marsh birds like grebes, Tundra and Trumpeter Swan, many diving and dabbling duck species, Virginia Rail, Sora, Willet, Caspian and Forster's Tern, Marsh Wren, Savannah Sparrow, and more. You may want to combine this birding spot with the Pony Express Trail, described above, into one trip.

HABITATS: Open water, marsh, lowland riparian, and desert shrub.

FEATURED BIRDS: Great Egret, Sage Thrasher, Black-throated Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow (winter).

SEASON: All year with fall, winter, and spring best.

LOCATION: The refuge is approximately 100 miles southwest of Tooele. From Tooele drive south for 25 miles on UT-36, then follow the Pony Express Trail signs for 75 miles to the refuge.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service

NOTES: Accessible restroom
(You will find more information on the Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge HERE )
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [47]  WEST CANYON AND GRANTSVILLE  
This roads gains elevation traveling through several habitats and provides an opportunity to view many species of birds. Interesting possibilities are Short-eared Owl, Loggerhead Shrike, and Vesper Sparrow. Most of the Great Basin bird species are a possibility in this area. The road can be rough, but is okay for a passenger car. The road ends at the West Canyon trailhead. More trees are encountered as one walks up the trail. The lower half mile of the trail is often very good birding even if one doesn't want to hike to the higher elevations.

HABITATS: Desert shrub and pinyon-juniper at lower elevation to spruce-fir at higher elevation

FEATURED BIRDS: Gray, Cordilleran, Dusky, and Hammond's Flycatcher and Prairie Falcon

SEASON: Best in spring, summer, and fall

LOCATION: Go west on UT-138 from Grantsville. When UT-138 turns north, go straight on well marked road to the West Canyon Trailhead. The trailhead is approximately 5 miles from UT-138.

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

NOTES: Availability of restroom facilities unknown
(You will find more information on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest HERE )
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [47a]  STANSBURY PARK WETLANDS  
This small site is good for water birds and passerines all year as open water remains throughout most winters. The authors are interested in birding feedback on this site. It has been reported that the site has become less attractive for birds in recent years.

HABITATS: Warm springs and open water

FEATURED BIRDS: Ring-necked Duck

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Exit 99 from I-80 then go south on UT-36 for four miles, then right (west) on UT-138, about .5 miles to entrance to park.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private land, respect private property rights by birding from the road.

NOTES: Availability of restrooms unknown
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [48]  SOUTH WILLOW CANYON  
A good stand of pinyon-juniper occurs at the lower portion of the canyon. Bird the stream and the surrounding woodlands for Western Scrub-Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Rock Wren, Townsend's Solitaire, Cordilleran Flycatcher, and more. There are ample opportunities for hiking and the trails are well marked. One trail leads to Deseret Peak, the highest peak in the Stansbury Mountains at 11,031 feet. The South Willow Lake trail is also quite scenic. At these higher elevations look for Blue Grouse, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, White-throated Swift, Western Wood-Pewee, Clark's Nutcracker, and Violet-green Swallow. The topography of the Great Basin is often referred to as a Basin and Range formation. Ranges like the Stansbury Mountains operate (ecologically) as islands and provide a very different birding experience than the Wasatch Mountains, which are part of the Rocky Mountain formation.

HABITATS: Riparian, aspen, and conifers

FEATURED BIRDS: White-throated Swift and Townsend's Solitaire

SEASON: Spring, summer, and fall

LOCATION: From Grantsville, turn south on 400 west and follow signs. The Loop Campground is eight miles.

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

NOTES: Accessible restroom
(You will find more information on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest HERE )
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key


  [49]  DEEP CREEK MOUNTAINS  
This birding trail includes just the north end of the Deep Creek Mountains. Many more opportunities are available in the Deep Creeks. This is an under-birded area. The Utah Ornithological Society and the Utah Bird Hotline are interested in observations. Typical Great Basin birds can be expected, like Sage Thrasher, Sage Sparrow, and Brewer's Sparrow, but birding during winter and migration might turn up some unexpected sightings. Hawkwatch International maintains a raptor migration census site nearby .

HABITATS: Habitats include lowland riparian, desert shrub, and Pinyon-Juniper

FEATURED BIRDS: Pinyon Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Chukar, and an endemic Blue Grouse subspecies

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Start at Gold Hill and drive southwest to the road heading north from Ibapah (11 miles), then go north for 13 miles, then past Twin Peaks and back to Gold Hill (12 miles).

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private land and public land managed by the BLM

NOTES: No facilities
(You will find more information on the Utah Ornithological Society HERE )
(The number for the Utah Bird Hotline is 801-538-4730)
(You will find more information on the Hawkwatch International HERE )
Top            Return to
      GSL Map & Key

HOME GSL
BIRDING
MAP & KEY
AREA
DESCRIPTIONS:
1-10 11-20 21-25 26-30 31-40 41-49