The phrase “spring has sprung” instills fear into the hearts of many winter sports lovers. To extend the adventure of winter during the early spring months, the small northern Utah towns of Francis, Kamas, and Oakley offer recreational activities that will satisfy nearly any winter sport hunger.
Each year, two highways are closed to cars because of winter weather. Highway 35, known as Wolf Creek Pass, is 68.3 miles long and stretches between Francis and Duchesne, Utah. The 25 miles between Kamas and Hanna are closed through early spring. Since the pass was paved only in 2002, the road does not show up on many maps and is not heavily trafficked.
State Route 150, or Mirror Lake Scenic Highway, spans about 55 miles starting outside of Kamas and ending 33 miles from Evanston, -Wyoming. During winter and early spring, it is closed to cars for a 34-mile stretch.
Snowy, closed-off highways can mean only one thing: a whole lot of fun on snowmobiles, cross-country skis, and snowshoes. By early- to mid-spring, the big winter storms have subsided, the weather has warmed up, and these roads are often closed well into April, depending on the yearly snowfall. These conditions make the area an ideal recreation spot for spring travelers who are not quite ready for winter to end.
While skiing or snowmobiling along the highways, you may be tempted to explore the vast open fields that lie directly off these roads. But don’t travel these areas alone: traversing the deep snow in the woods may be a lot of fun but may also increase your chances of getting stuck or lost.
Late Spring Activities
In addition to early springtime snow activities, the highways provide yearlong access to -various outdoor pleasures, including wildlife watching, fishing, hiking, camping, and scenic driving. The Smith and Morehouse campgrounds have RV, tent, and group sites and are located near a reservoir that provides excellent fishing. Deer, moose, and bears have all been spotted in this area.
In mid-June, Mirror Lake Highway hosts a two-day bike ride called the High Uintas Classic. The race, starting in Kamas and ending in Evanston, is divided into competitive sections by age and sex. You can also choose between an 80-mile course and a 47-mile course. This year the High Uintas -Classic will be held June 18–19.
Road Island Diner
To refuel after your outdoor adventure, check out the Road Island Diner located nearby in the quaint town of Oakley. This famous diner has a long history. Manufactured in New Jersey, it was exhibited in the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Later it was towed to Massachusetts, where it operated for 14 years. Then it was taken to Rhode Island and was operated by four generations of an Italian family. Finally, it was transported across the country to Oakley in 2007. The diner was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 and won the 2010 Utah Best of State award as the best museum attraction in the state of Utah.
Unlike many other diners in operation today, this diner still structurally and cosmetically represents what the diner would have looked like when it rolled out of the factory in 1939. The only modern additions to the diner are tabletop remote jukeboxes, flat screen TVs, and air conditioning. The diner allows customers to be creative with their burgers and top them with just about anything. A favorite is the Rodeo Burger, named for the Oakley Rodeo; it is deliciously topped with onion rings and barbeque sauce. Visit this diner for some tasty food and for more information about its fascinating history.
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