About Sanpete County
Sanpete County comprises Sanpete Valley, part of the valley of the Sevier River, and the mountains which surround them. Elevations along the Sevier River are around 5,000 feet, with Sanpete Valley a few hundred feet higher. The San Pitch River flows southward through Sanpete Valley into the Sevier River. A beautiful farming country covers the valley floors, dotted by pioneer settlements, which are now seeing growth as people look for quieter places out of the larger cities along the Wasatch Front. Foothills covered with sagebrush rise gently from the valley floor, meeting forests of junipers trees on the steeper upper slopes. At high elevations, forests of quaking aspen and evergreens flourish.
Along the eastern boundary of the county lies the Wasatch Plateau, a 10,000 foot, flat-topped mountain, bedecked in forests and meadows. Canyons dropping into Sanpete Valley on its western face are short and steep. The San Pitch Mountains flank Sanpete Valley on the west, dwindling to a point on the south in the valley of the Sevier River. The Valley Mountains rise to the west of the Sevier River.
Soon after Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake City in 1847, they launched a colonization program. Sanpete Valley was one of the early places targeted by the early settlers, after having been invited here by Ute Chiefs Walkara and Sowiette. Within a decade a number of settlements had been established, including Manti, the county seat. As of the year 2010, Sanpete County has a population of 27,822. It covers 1,603 square miles.
U.S. Highway 89 passes through the county from north to south, entering near the northern tip of Sanpete Valley, heading south through the most populated parts of the county. Past Manti, it leaves Sanpete Valley, turning southwest through a hilly area, and comes to Gunnison, near the Sevier River. From there it heads south out of the county, and soon reaches Interstate 70. Two State Highways provide access to Interstate 15 in Juab Valley. Utah Highway 28 heads north from Gunnison, reaching the freeway at Nephi, passing round the southwest end of the Sanpitch Mountains. Utah Highway 132 departs Highway 89 in the middle of Sanpete Valley and heads northwest around the north end of the Sanpitch Mountains, to reach Nephi via Salt Creek Canyon. To head east in Sanpete County, the only major route crossing the Wasatch Plateau is Utah Highway 31, which leaves from Fairview and eventually reaches Huntington after a winding but beautiful drive in the mountains.