Sunday, August 7, 2022

Mona Pole Canyon a beautiful alternative


The Nebo Loop Scenic Byway is a photographer’s delight, and I hadn’t driven it yet this year. That brought to mind the question of starting from Payson or Nephi. After pondering that question, studying the map and thinking about trips in years past, my wife and I decided to drive up a canyon between Payson and Nephi to connect with the Nebo Loop Road. That canyon is called Mona Pole Canyon.


Getting an early morning start for both cooler temperatures and a photographer’s early morning light, we drove to the Mona Cement Plant for the start of the Mona Pole Canyon road. This road was originally a mine road to the Privateer Mines. When the Mount Nebo Wilderness Area was created in 1984, a corridor to the mine was allowed to give access to the mine property. When you drive the Mona Pole Canyon road, both sides of the road – left and right – are designated as Wilderness Area.   


The first couple of miles of the road are covered with loose rock and very steep. A four-wheel drive vehicle or ATV/UTV is required. The road is narrow but wide enough for our Jeep. I do recommend a short wheelbase vehicle. As you reach the upper part of the road, you drive through some beautiful meadows. The road becomes less rocky but presents you with some very tight turns. In about 6.1 miles from leaving the Mona Cement Plant, you will reach a fork in the road. The left fork goes to the mine, which we did not take due to time constraints, and the right fork goes on to connect with the paved Nebo Loop road in 3.8 miles.


It was an interesting drive and we saw a few deer along the way to add to our enjoyment. For us, it is a must-do-again road when we have more time. This road would really be spectacular during the fall colors.

Chris Baird
Chris Baird
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.
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