- 85.92 miles (138 km)
- 1.5 hours to drive or a day to visit the Byway.
- There is no charge to drive the Byway.
From bone quarry to coal mining ghost town to manmade reservoir, The Energy Loop: Huntington/Eccles Canyons Scenic Byway is a montage of land use for the past and the present, amidst a unique and beautiful landscape. The rugged mountains, pine forests, and blue reservoirs found here, sprinkled with occasional remnants of days gone by, offer visitors a variety show for their leisure, recreation, and reflection.
A historian of energy might well begin at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry and study the ancient life that formed today's fossil fuels. The densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur bones ever found is located at this quarry, a few miles east of Huntington, Utah. Twelve thousand individual bones, skeletons, and dinosaur eggs have been excavated from this prolific fossil bed, and are on display the world over. Current research at the quarry is focused on identifying why there is such a tremendous concentration of bones here.
You can try to figure out this unsolved mystery on a guided or unguided tour of the quarry where you'll see archaeologists at work on actual bones. At the quarry's Visitor Center you can see a complete Allosaur skeletal reconstruction and a Stegosaur wall mount. Other dinosaur museums along the Byway include the one in Price at the College of Eastern Utah and the Museum of San Rafael in Castle Dale.
The name Energy Loop bespeaks the coal mining industry that once provided an economic base for multiple communities along this Byway. Still in operation, the Skyline Mine in Eccles Canyon extracts approximately five million tons of coal per year. However, the remains of many ghost towns that died with the slowdown in the coal industry in the mid-1900s can still be seen today. The demise of Connellsville, in contrast, was more deliberate; it was flooded by Electric Lake when Huntington Creek was dammed for power.
To learn more about the coal mining industry in the area, visit Helper's Western Mining and Railroad Museum, in the Helper National Historic District. Here you can see how coal was mined in 1900 and how the railroad and mining industries worked together to get this energy source to cold and hungry customers across the U.S. It's a trip back in time that will help you appreciate central heating and an electric stove.
Less evident and more recent human influences on the area are seen in the numerous manmade reservoirs that dot the Byway and supply power and recreation to the area. At the north end of the Byway, nestled among mountains and valleys, is Scofield Reservoir, an inviting oasis amidst its rugged surroundings. Electric Reservoir and Huntington Reservoir join the list. All those who love fun in the water are invited for fishing, boating, and swimming. Visit the area in the winter as well: the state park housing Scofield Reservoir is open year round, providing ice fishing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling to winter visitors.
So come and get energized on this beautiful drive. From living dinosaurs to the "black gold" they left behind, from sparkling blue reservoirs to the power they provide, you'll find yourself happy to spend just a little time and energy of your own on the The Energy Loop: Huntington/Eccles Canyons Scenic Byway.