Utah State Flag

US 50 -- Utah

Copyright 2010 W. Berg Press

US50 - Utah: Travel US 50 through Utah, UT. The Beehive State. The capital is Salt
Lake City. The state motto is: Industry.
Highway 50, Green River, John Wesley Powell, 
Salina, Delta, Millard County, Topaz Relocation, Sevier

Welcome to Utah - The Beehive State.
The capital is Salt Lake City. - State motto is Industry.

It was 1896 when Utah achieved statehood. Out here we can see forever, as the saying goes. One should have cruise control to maintain speed and to ease driving fatigue. Along the highway fence we see occasionally, large, black birds, which I expect are some kind of crow, sitting there waiting for their prey. They don't fly away as the traffic moves by. They just sit there and look.

Green River is a must stop for service. The next service is available in 110 miles. The city is famous for melons and has more days of sunshine than any other place. The Green and Colorado rivers are the most dominant water resources in the arid west. These rivers drain an area of about one-seventh of the United States. The corrosive power of the dirt-laden currents created canyons and gorges ranging up to 3,000 feet vertically in some locations. John Wesley Powell explored the rivers by traveling in 1869 from Green River, Wyoming.

The next stop in 105 miles is Salina, a distance farther than or equivalent to the distance from Richmond, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., without service. As we drive down this lonely road, we pass through canyons; the scenery is miraculous. There are towering walls that were made to cut out the roadbed. We make numerous stop, intoxicate ourselves on the scenery and take pictures. Between Green River and Fremont Junction, the swell exposes geologic formations. Deep canyons, slick rock domes, sandstone cliffs and flat-topped buttes are all visible from I-70. The rock colors change from bloody red to rust to green and purples. As we come closer to Fremont Junction, the sandstone is yellow, an interesting change. It is yellow-white versus the previous red sandstone.

As we travel through Salina Canyon, we see trees again; not big trees, but desert trees. These are brush types, very rugged vegetation. We drive through the northern part of the Fishlake National Forest and are climbing up again where snow is in the region. As we come higher, we look for a sweater and close the windows. Our ears are plugging up and popping. We can only imagine what driving conditions must be in winter time on these steep hills with very wide open areas. There are warnings for ice during winter driving conditions.

Salina is where we will leave Interstate 40 and continue westward on Route 50. The sky is getting darker. Salina is in the valley, and on the other side are mountains. Since it's getting late in the afternoon, we opt to stay in Salina. We are at the crossroad where I-70, US 50 and US 89 meet, divide and separate. For centuries travelers have stopped here for the night to rest and then continue their journey early in the morning.

The place is high in the Utah mountains. This is also the place where Chief Black Hawk made war with white settlers because they could not resolve their differences. Today it is a peaceful place.

I know we must be in cattle country because when we enter a freeway, such as the Interstate, we have a cattle guard grill in the roadway. Watch out for free-running cattle, deer or other animals. This is what folks call the Wild West.

We stop in Delta do some shopping and walk up and down Main Street to stretch our legs. The next town is 89 miles away and that's a very small town. Delta has 3,000 people. It is the largest town in Millard County which is larger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. The total population for the county in the year 1990 was only 13,217. This equates to about 330 acres for each person. Only 14 percent of all the land is privately owned. Federal and state governments are the largest land owners.

In Delta we meet another cross-country highway.  Route 6, US 6 runs from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Long Beach, California.  Total length of this historic highway is 3,652 miles.  
One day we will
conquer road.  We will travel together for a short while till Ely, Nevada.

North of Delta the US Government built the Topaz Relocation Site.

Topaz Relocation Site

Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Government relocated and confined here persons of Japanese descent. From 1942 to 1945 the camp housed approximately 9,000 evacuees. According to the National Register, Topaz symbolizes, the extreme prejudice and war hysteria following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Family at the Topaz Relocation Site

In Hinckley, we get the last warning that services are not available for the next 83 miles. Good luck! We have lunch with us, so we can eat in between.

On the left side of the road, we can see Sevier Lake-or what is supposed to be a lake. The map says it's an intermittent lake. From what I see, it is a very flat plateau where water accumulates from winter runoffs. We are told that the lake used to have a lot more water, but most water from the Sevier River is now diverted for agricultural purposes. The temperature gets very hot and with low humidity, the water evaporates rapidly. On the north shore, the lake bed is covered with sand that the river water carried into the lake. We see very little water.

Photo copyright Erika Lockhart 

After we cut through Skull Rock Pass, we can see on our right Notch Peak. With an elevation of 9,725 feet, Notch Peak is the largest limestone formation in the state. The north side of the peak has a spectacular 3,000 foot cliff.

go back to US50, Coast to Coast

Stop Sign
My book "US 50, Coast to Coast" guides you on this journey in greater details.
To obtain information on ordering a copy of US 50 COAST to COAST, click here