The Energy Loop:
Huntington/Eccles Canyons Scenic Byway
Typical countryside along the Energy Loop Scenic Byway
The Energy Loop: Huntington/Eccles Canyons Scenic Byway is an 86-mile route that passes through the Manti-La Sal National Forest, passing operating coal mines, historic mining towns and at least one large coal-fired electric plant (Utah Power and Light in Huntington Canyon). The route reaches about 10,000 feet in the Wasatch Mountains, giving some great views of Sanpete Valley, one of the first areas settled by the Mormon pioneers in the mid-1850's.
Just east of Huntington is the location of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, site of the densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur bones ever found. More than 12,000 dinosaur eggs, skeletons and individual bones have been excavated from this site as the archaeologists and paleontologists have tried to discover why there is such a concentraion of "dino memorabilia" located here.
To go with all those ancient dinosaur fossils, this area has a concentration of coal mines, most closed due to economic slowdowns in the mid-1900's but Skyline Mine in Eccles Canyon (just south of Scofield) still produces more than 5 million tons of coal annually.
For those folks who are into other, more athletic pursuits, just outside Orangeville (between the Sanpete Valley Overlook and Huntington) on State Route 31 you'll find Joes Valley, one of Utah's prime destinations for rock climbers and boulderers. Joes Valley offers literally hundreds of routes on some of the world's finest sandstone boulders... routes for all skill levels. Best time to climb, though, is in the spring and fall. The summers are hot, shade is scarce and the sandstone gets greasy quick.
A lot of the Energy Loop Scenic Byway is in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, which means campgrounds, picnic areas and trailheads. You'll also find more than a few pullouts with interpretive signage along the route. Scofield State Park is at the north end, Huntington State Park at the south end. In Fairview is where you'll find the Fairview Museum of History and Art with displays of artifacts that reach from the modern era back through Native American artifacts from about the 1300's CE to a full-scale replica of a Colombian mammoth that was found just off SR 31 south of town in 1988.
Huntington Creek runs beside the byway for miles
Map of the Energy Loop Scenic Byway area