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Nebo Loop Scenic Byway "Sentinel of God"

Be forewarned, this is not a loop, despite its official name, but rather a north-south 9,000 foot alpine drive between the small towns of Payson and Nephi. We were especially anxious to hit the road since our guidebook said, "The brilliant fall foliage of the Uinta National Forest is hard to match any where in the nation."

After navigating a nondescript neighborhood in Payson we headed south on Forest Road 015. Within minutes the narrow winding road passed mountain meadows, narrow steep canyons and a gushing stream.

Just inside the boundaries of the Uinta National Forest was the turnoff for the small and secluded Maple Bench Campground. The reward for maneuvering this short but narrow and steep dirt road was the shimmering jewel… Maple Lake. True to its name, the lake was surrounded by maples that were in the final stages of their autumn glory.

As the leaves were dropping at an alarming rate, we stood on the shore in awe of the sheer beauty of the red maple reflections. We could only imagine how more intense the color would have been if we had arrived two or three weeks earlier. Perhaps we should have spent less time in Logan?

Back on the main road you gain elevation and reach several overlooks with expansive views of the Utah Valley and the surrounding Wasatch, including vistas of the 11,877 foot Mt. Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch Range and one of the highest in the state.

 

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