Lower Bowns Reservoir, located in Utah's Garfield County, is an intermediate-
sized reservoir of 90 acres.
At an elevation of 7,450 ft, the reservoir sits in a depression on a long,
forested slope that begins at over 11,000 ft at the crest of Boulder
Mountain, an eastward extension of the Aquarius Plateau.
From the plateau's top at 3,300 meters, the land drops off to the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef NP at 1,600 meters. Lower Bowns Reservoir is near the bottom of the slope, just a short distance east of Utah's Hwy 12 or U-12.
Surprisingly, the greater part of this area's annual precipitation falls
during July, August and September in the form of rain. This often comes in
cloudbursts (with violent lightning) that release so much water onto
non-absorptive rock that it collects rapidly into countless drainage
channels, pouring into the larger washes and eventually the Fremont River.
Streambeds that are normally dry may then witness short-lived torrents of
turbid, debris-laden floodwater. In general, floods have not been as violent
during the past few decades of reduced precipitation as they were 60 years
ago, but they are always impressive and can still be dangerous.
In 1994, my friend was killed by a bolt of lightning while eating his lunch on the east side of Lower Bowns Reservoir.
In the distance are the Henry Mountains, with 11,615 ft Mount Ellen
clearly visible (above the Ponderosa pine tree) in this view looking NE from the U-12 highway.
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