Nine Mile Canyon Back Country Byway
Nine Mile Canyon is in east-central Utah about 80 miles southeast of Provo. Southern access is east of Wellington off US 6; northern access is west of Myton off US 40. The byway is 78 miles long and follows Nine Mile Canyon Road, primarily a two-lane gravel and dirt road. The first 12 miles from Wellington is paved. Large RVs and vehicles pulling trailers are discouraged from completing the byway because of steep grades and sharp curves. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for exploring the side roads. Nine Mile Canyon can usually be driven year-round, however, sections may become impassable after heavy rain.
The byway takes travelers through a high desert landscape with surrounding hills dotted with aspen and Douglas fir. From the south, the byway enters Soldier Creek Canyon with the cottonwood-lined Soldier Creek meandering nearby.
The byway then leaves Soldier Creek to enter Nine Mile Canyon offering glimpses of this area's history. The Fremont Indians once inhabited the region, leaving behind petroglyphs and pictographs on the canyon walls. After the Civil War, the military built a major supply road through here to Myton. A stone structure at Telegraph Station served as a home and telegraph office between Price and Duchesne. Telegraph wire was strung on metal poles that still stand along the byway. Farther into the canyon, byway travelers can see the remains of a Fremont Indian village on the terrace above the road. Small boulders indicate where structures once stood.
Once you've completed your exploration of Nine Mile Canyon, continue driving north on the byway. Leaving the canyon, you'll come across the site of a stage stop once operated by Owen Smith. Mr. Smith and his family constructed nine buildings including a restaurant, blacksmith shop, and a small hotel to serve the needs of passengers on the Myton to Price stage line. From here the byway once again crosses sagebrush covered hills to its end near Myton.
Information: BLM-Moab Field Office, 82 E Dogwood Suite M, Moab UT 84532 / 435-259-2100. Ashley National Forest, 355 N Vernal Ave, Vernal UT 84078 / 435-789-1181. Starvation State Park, PO Box 584, Duchesne UT 84021 / 435-738-2326