North of Vernal and south of Manila in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, the Dowd Mountain Loop is an 11 mile route combining old roads with trails to the Dowd Mountain Overlook through pinon and juniper. The Dowd Mountain trail leads to a breathtaking over look of Flaming Gorge, including views of the western portion of the lake. On a clear day, the horizon extends well into Wyoming. The route follows a trail of blue diamonds placed by the Forest Service and is regularly maintained.
To reach the cross-country skiing trailhead from Manila, travel south on UT44 to just before milepost 14. Park at the Dowd Springs picnic area. Begin pedaling across the highway to the east up the Dowd Mountain Road. Cross over the cattle guard and take the single-track trail to the right marked by the carsonite post. The trail undulates among the pine trees for a few miles before merging with a double track road. Follow the blue diamonds along the main road past several branching routes. The trail eventually swings north and intersects FS 094. Go right (east) to the overlook 0.5 mile ahead. From the overlook, follow the Dowd Mountain Hideout trail to the north, following the trail along the hillside to an intersection. Go left up the hill to the 3-way intersection and proceed right (west) on FS 613. After abut a mile the trail reaches the saddle and splits. Head straight down the narrowing trail, over the berms down the gully back to the trailhead.
Overall, Dowd Mountain Loop Trail is the 17th most popular cross country ski area of all 19 Nordic ski destinations in Utah.