Sitting at 8,200' Dalton Springs provides the closest direct access to mid elevation conifer and mixed aspen forest outside Monticello, Utah. The best birding can be done form the road here where a pull out provides parking and a wide berth to scan the forest edges form and proceed into the forest via game trails. The habitat is very mixed between conifer and aspen, with a heavy Gambel's Oak component, creating a great habitat for all montane species. A National Forest Service campground lies to the south of the road here and has 16 spaces that can be used for $10 a night. There is in fact a spring here and some very wet riparian habitat. Continuing up the road into the mountains the habitat remains the same and provides more birding opportunities along the road and in the forest.
The birding here is vastly different from the birding just 5 miles east on the high desert plains of the Hickman Flats. When you're in Monticello and need a fix for montane birding this is the quickest way to fill your needs. Birding just from the parking area on the side of the road across from the campground you can easily see 15 to 20 species in a short period of time. Birding is best here form late spring through fall when there is no snow. Often late April is when things start to pick up. CASSIN'S FINCH, RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, STELLER'S JAY, and PINE SISKIN are all common here. Both WHITE-BREASTED and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH can usually be added in a short period of time, while its not uncommon to come across WILD TURKEY here as well. Keep an eye to the sky for accipiters and other hawks that are often seen cruising here. Other montane species you might pick up include RED CROSSBILL, BROWN CREEPER, CLARK'S NUTCRACKER, and TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE. The breeding season will bring warblers, vireos, and flycatchers to the higher elevations here and the relative lack of exploration form birders really leaves this location open to some discovery. The actual distribution of species in this area is poorly known so any visit to the area is worth a quick stop to see what you might find!
From the intersection of Main and Center Streets in Monticello head west on Center Street .2 miles taking a left onto 200 West. Go . 2 miles before turning right onto 200 south. After about 250' take the flight left onto Abajo Drive. Abajo will turn into N Creek Road (route 101). Follow this for 4.8 miles till you reach the pullout on your right. Park here.