Wayne County lies entirely within the colorful Colorado Plateau province and includes portions of Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks. The Fremont River flows south into the county from Fish Lake and then east to join the Dirty Devil, a tributary of the Green River. The Green marks the county’s eastern border.
Located in southeastern Utah, Wayne County is roughly 23 miles wide running north and south, and 105 miles long running east and west, and contains 2,475 miles, with 97% belonging to Federal and State Governments. There are about 2,500 people living in the county.
The Surrounding Area
The western part of the county is a broken up plateau called the Awapa Plateau. It slopes to the east from the Parker Mountain Divide for a distance of 12-15 miles, from an elevation of about 10,000 ft. – 7,999 ft. into the valley encompassing the towns of Fremont, Loa, Lyman, and Bicknell. South and east of these towns are two high up-lifted mountains divided by the Fremont River. The one on the north is Thousand Lake Mountain, and on the south is the Boulder Mountain (or Aquarius Plateau); one of the largest and highest plateaus in the U.S.
Both of these mountains have horizontal lava capping and are over 11,000 ft. high with many small lakes providing excellent fishing. You can also find excellent hunting for deer, elk, antelope, turkey, duck, pheasant, chukkers and other wild game. The general area provides grazing for livestock during the summer months. Southeast of the town of Bicknell is a wet, marshy area known as the Bicknell Bottoms, an excellent wildlife habitat, and housing the largest fish egg hatchery in the state.
The area east of the high mountains from Torrey to Capitol Reef National Park gradually slopes eastward, dropping 1,500 ft. in elevation. It is characterized by sandstone formations and shales, reddish-brown in color. This portion is rugged and broken except for the areas occupied by the towns of Torrey, Teasdale, and Grover. It consists primarily of range land. Pinion, juniper, and semi-desert grasses and shrubs for the principal vegetative cover here. Fruits such as apples, pears, apricots, and plums are raised in Teasdale, Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park.
Between Capitol Reef National Park and Notom is a tilted section of very colorful sedimentary formations that vary in color from buff to yellow to maroon to reddish brown. These formations are sandstone with briefly banded shales of fantastic shades and colors. This area is known as “Wayne Wonderland” and “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow.” The tilted section known as the Water Pocket Fold extends through the county in a southeasterly direction from the east end of Thousand Lake Mountain to the Colorado River.
East of the Reef
East of the Reef, the topography varies from eroded dissected slopes and blue-gray mesas to a vast open and rolling area near and east of Hanksville. It is a low rainfall area used primarily for winter grazing. This area is sparsely settled with the small towns of Caineville and Hanksville. The area east of Hanksville is still called “Robbers Roost”, where cattle rustling by the notorious Robbers Roost gang threatened ranchers until the late 1890s. Thus the name was originated because it was the last hideout of the old west desperados and gunmen.
Water is Precious
Since Wayne County is the second driest county in the second driest state, water is our most precious resource. Therefore, nearly every farm in the entire county is under a sprinkling system. We, then, are able to conserve and utilize the available water. Wayne County is, no doubt, the most scenic and beautiful county in the entire west.