I headed South from Park City for a loop that took me to mid-state Utah. I wanted a red rock experience and got it. I got as far as Goblin Valley State Park off of UT 24 which is a place that I would not necessarily go to on a big national park trip in the region (Capital Reef, Canyonlands, Arches). This 'sidetrip' was perfect for a day-long adventure. Having visited, I would now go back especially when a full moon occurs. The park is 10 miles from any bright light location and is highlighted by the International Dark Skies Association. The formation below is The Three Sisters.
On the way South, I found the San Rafael Swell (or Reef) which was surprisingly cool. I had driven through the area before and did not think much of the terrain. This trip changed my mind. I want to hike the canyons on a future day trip.
A bit farther on I-70 East was Spotted Wolf Canyon. You can see the interstate in this photo. I stretched my legs a bit to soak up the Big West scene.
The area around UT 10 is known as the Energy Loop.
The first part of the day route followed US 6 East out of Spanish Fork and then south on US 89. At Fairfield, a left turn took me up a steep canyon to the high ridge road in the Manti-La Sal National forest which is popular with snowmobilers and para-sail skiers. The vistas and deep snow make this one of my favorite back roads.
At the State Park, you can walk through the valley formations. I had the sense I was in a mini-Brice Canyon.
The dusting of snow and it's melting pattern added to the attraction.
A tiny town at the base of Price Canyon named "Helper" has a historical designation for its mining and railroad past. Current day efforts for revival are centered on a coffee house, a few fine arts galleries and a couple of restaurants. It is also known for the Balanced Rock which is in the distance in this photo.