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Utah Store Summer

Utah Scenic Byways: Explore

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Prepare to have your breath taken away — or breathe new life into the road trip.

Either way, with over 2,200 miles of destination roadways, Utah has the cure for your carcolepsy.

No matter where you are traveling in Utah, take the scenic byway there and you'll be rewarded with an eyeful of inspiring landscapes, ancient heritage, profound geology or diverse wildlife. While Utah's scenic byways are themselves destinations, they also connect The Mighty 5® national parks, forty-three state parks, seven national monuments, two national recreation areas and more than nine million acres of national forest land with Utah's vibrant cities and welcoming towns.

Distances and times are approximate, and will vary with current conditions and your own pace. Several of the following byways present multiple opportunities to pull off the road for a scenic or interpretive overlook, and some of the longer routes would make an excellent weekend vacation by themselves.

Featured Byway: Utah's All-American Road, Scenic Byway 12

From Panguitch to Torrey
124 Miles | 3–4 Hours | Map

• Between the breathtaking engineering of the ridge-traversing "Hogsback" and some of world's most startling geography, Scenic Byway 12 is simply one of America's most beautiful drives.
• You'll find it difficult not to stop at multiple points along the way to experience breathtaking panoramas, national parks and monuments, recreation areas and state parks.

 

  • Drive through twisting canyons, the shadows of red rock towers and dramatically contrasting high mountain forests of pine and aspen.
• See pioneer towns, like Henrieville, untouched by time, or taste Zagat-rated cuisine in an unexpected place.
• In winter, make sure to inquire locally for road conditions.
• Imagine climbing the 124 miles on a bike. Elite cyclists do just that as part of America's Toughest Stage Race, the Tour of Utah.    

Scenic Byway 12 Pan

National Scenic Byways

NORTHERN UTAH

Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway
41 miles| 1 hour | Map
U.S. 89 north and east from Logan to the Utah/Idaho Border

This 41-mile National Scenic Byway is the most scenic route from Northern Utah to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone in Wyoming. The byway runs alongside the winding Logan River from the city of Logan to Garden City. Much of the corridor travels through spectacular, craggy limestone cliffs. The scenic byway peaks at a glorious vista overlooking the turquoise waters of Bear Lake, then winds down the mountain to the Idaho border. In the summer, stop for one Garden City's famous raspberry milkshakes.

Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway National Scenic Byway
447 miles | 9–10 hours nonstop or a thorough 2–3 day tour | Map
From Moab, north through Price and Vernal, then a return trip south through Colorado's Dinosaur, Rangely and Fruita — linking important dinosaur related sites

This 512-mile route truly is a gem, creating a "diamond" pattern on the map through what was once Utah's "Jurassic Park." Join dinosaur enthusiasts and scientists from around the world. Explore the museums, active dig sites and rock art along the way, headlined by Dinosaur National Monument and Price's CEU Prehistoric Museum.

Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway
80 miles | 1.75+ hours | Map
U.S. 191 from Vernal north to the Flaming Gorge Dam Visitor Center or Wyoming border then return to the junction of U.S. 191/44 to Manila

With 82 miles of wildlife viewing opportunities, this byway crosses habitats of deer, elk, moose, eagles and many other bird and animal species. You can learn about the region's geology and wildlife with the aid of interpretive signs. The byway features 17 interpretive pullouts and also accesses Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area with panoramic views of the reservoir, spreading north from the Flaming Gorge Dam. 

Scenic Byway Illustration

CENTRAL UTAH

The Energy Loop: Huntington/Eccles National Scenic Byway

94.3 miles | 2.5–4 hours | Map
S.R. 31 from Huntington to Fairview and S.R. 264 and S.R. 96 from Fairview to Colton

Constantly changing landscape and more than 100 million years of geologic strata over 85 miles make the drive exhilarating during any season. Utah state Routes 31, 264 and 96 combine to form the Huntington-Eccles Scenic Byway. Visitors will discover why this Byway is known as the "Energy Loop" when they pass a working power plant, natural gas wells, a coal mine and the railroad. Visitors learn of the hardships of the first generation coal miners and railroaders while traveling to elevations of over 10,000 feet. 

Nebo Loop National Scenic Byway
43.7 miles | 1.5+ hours | Map
Forest Service Road 15 between Payson and Nephi

A winding drive between Payson and Nephi, this 32-mile scenic drive crosses the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and provides views of Utah Valley, the Wasatch Mountains and spectacular vistas of 11,928-foot Mount Nebo, the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range. Check out Devil's Kitchen Geologic Interest Site, which features red rock formations set against brilliant foliage that is a summer and autumn favorite. Heavy snows close in winter.

SOUTHERN UTAH

Patchwork Parkway National Scenic Byway
48+ miles | 1.5+ hours | Map
S.R. 143 from Parowan to Panguitch with a side trip to Cedar Breaks National Monument on S.R. 148

During a winter snowstorm in 1864, Mormon pioneers painstakingly traversed this unforgettable mountain road by throwing down handmade quilts onto the snow, stepping on them gingerly to avoid sinking. Patchwork Parkway passes Brian Head Resort and stunning Cedar Breaks National Monument just down the road on S.R. 148. Stop at the interpretive sites to learn more about the area's Mormon pioneer heritage.

Scenic Byway 12, Utah's All-American Road
124 miles | 4+ hours | Map
S.R. 12 from Panguitch to Torrey

Passing through twisting canyons, red rock towers, pine forests and pioneer towns, you will experience one of this nation's most beautiful drives. Punctuating the drive are breathtaking panoramas, national parks and monuments, recreation areas and state parks. Details at top.

Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

Sidetrip Style: 400+ miles | 9–10 hours nonstop or 2–3 day tour | Map 
Counterclockwise 300+ miles | 8+ hours nonstop or longer tour | Map (Moki Dugway route)
From Monticello to Monument Valley, Blanding to Mexican Hat via Natural Bridges, or Bluff to Hovenweep with a wide swing east into Colorado and south into Arizona. There are many ways to tackle this important scenic byway.

Packed with scenic vistas and both archaeological and cultural intrigue, the byway encounters numerous examples of Ancestral Puebloan history in the Four Corners area. A tour of the Utah portion of the Trail of the Ancients includes Four Corners Monument, Edge of the Cedars State Park & Museum, Natural Bridges National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, and many other areas of interest. A more circular route hits the steep and spectacular Moki Dugway, comprised of white-knuckle inducing gravel switchbacks.

The narrow 11 percent grade is not recommended for trailers or larger RVs.

 

Designated Utah State Scenic Byways

NORTHERN UTAH

Bear Lake-Laketown
10 miles | 15 minutes | Map
Highway 30, from Laketown to Garden City along the shore of the brilliant turquoise-colored "Caribbean of the Rockies," Bear Lake

Big Cottonwood Canyon
15 miles | 25 minutes | Map
Highway 190, up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Solitude and Brighton winter and summer resorts and plenty of hiking and climbing, camping; watershed prohibits domestic animals

Great Salt Lake Legacy Parkway
14 miles | 20–25 minutes | Map
Highway 67, from Farmington to North Salt Lake passes through coastal ecosystem of the Great Salt Lake with a relaxed pace, hiking, biking and bird-watching along the way

Little Cottonwood Canyon
7 miles | 15 minutes to Alta | Map
Highway 210, up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird and Alta winter and summer resorts; watershed prohibits domestic animals

Mirror Lake
56+ miles | 2 hours | Map
Highway 150, from Kamas to the Utah/Wyoming border, and on to Evanston, this popular mountain byway hits 10,700 feet and plentiful outdoor recreation; fees for forest use, not road; winter closures

Ogden River
Pineview Reservoir Loop: 34 miles | 1 hour | Map
To eastern edge of Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest: 85 miles | 2+ hours | Map
Highway 39, from Ogden to Huntsville and Pineview Reservoir and a climb into the forest (winter closure/snowmobile access) or loop around Pineview
  
Provo Canyon
30 miles | 40+ minutes | Map
U.S. 89 (in Provo), from its junction with S.R. 52 to Heber City via Midway passes world-class fly fishing on the Provo River, Bridal Veil Falls, Sundance and the Alpine Wasatch Back in the shadow of the mighty Mount Timpanogos


CENTRAL UTAH

Fish Lake
13 miles | 45 minutes | 
Map
H
ighway 25, between Highway 24 & Highway 72 (near Loa) to abundant wildlife, excellent fishing and camping amid high mountain forests and meadows


SOUTHWESTERN UTAH

Beaver Canyon
24 miles | 60 minutes | Map
Highway 153, from Beaver to Mt. Holly with plentiful fishing and hiking in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter

Cedar Breaks National Monument
6 miles | 30+ minutes | Map
Highway 148, between Highway 14 & Highway 143 (near Brian Head) the + is key here; come for the startling overlooks and stay for sunset; fee at Monument; winter closures possible

Kolob Fingers Road
5 miles | 30 minutes | Map
Exit 40 off I-15, 18 miles south of Cedar City, NPS Fee accesses spectacular overlooks

Markagunt High Plateau
40 miles | 1 hour | Map
Hwy 14, from Cedar City to U.S. 89 passes through Dixie National Forest with a road summit of 9,900 feet

Mount Carmel
60 miles | 1.5 hours | Map
U.S. 89, from its junction with S.R. 12, south to Kanab passes through Grand Staircase-Escalante and offers panoramic glimpses at Zion National Park and several other astonishing landscapes

Zion Park
54 miles | 1.5+ hours | Map
S.R. 9, from I-15 to Mt. Carmel Junction, NPS Fee. The famous red road of Zion National Park passes through the narrow Zion-Mt. Carmel en route to some beautiful pinyon pine and juniper woodlands. Allow plenty of extra time to stop and explore the park, so long as you're passing through!

Scenic Byway Mt Carmel Zion     

SOUTHEASTERN UTAH

Capitol Reef Country
64 miles | 1.5+ hours | Map
Highway 24, from Loa to Hanksville showcases Capitol Reef National Park; continue north for an additional 30 miles to reach the otherworldly Goblin Valley State Park

Dead Horse Mesa
19 miles | 30 minutes | Map
Highway 313, 10 minutes north of Moab to Dead Horse Point State Park to one of the most photographed — and rightfully so — scenic overlooks in the world.

Indian Creek
 
38 miles | 45 minutes | Map
Highway 211 (Exit U.S. 191, 14 mi north of Monticello), to the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park

Potash-Lower Colorado River
34 miles round-trip | 2 hours | Map
Highway 279 (Exit U.S. 191, 3 mi north of Moab), along the river to the Potash Plant, Jug Handle Arch and views of the distant cliffs of Dead Horse Point

Upper Colorado River
44 miles | 1 hour | Map
Highway 128 (Exit I-70, just west of Cisco), to Moab follows the mighty Colorado River and hit not-to-be-missed views of Castle Rock and the crumbling mudstone ramparts of Fisher Towers 

 

"Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose."
—Walt Whitman, Song for the Open Road