Away from it All
Stay up late for the dark skies.
If you’ve read and admired Western writers Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey, this is the itinerary for you. Though Stegner says, “We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in,” this ambitious two-day itinerary will soothe your soul and boost your spirits as you do more than just look in. Welcome to the wild country.
Many stop by Cedar Breaks National Monument to peer into its colorful amphitheater. Separate yourself from the crowd by arriving early and racing the sunrise to the Ramparts. Later, drop deep into the backcountry of Bryce Canyon’s spire-filled basin, where few tourists ever venture — an amphitheater of peace. Then, at night, admire the stars in the pristine darkness of Bryce Canyon’s 9,000-foot elevation.
In Capitol Reef, day two will provide you with a national park experience without the usual crowds. Head out into nature’s place of worship in Cathedral Valley and breathe in the dry, juniper-scented air as you marvel at the massive monoliths. Wander through narrow, hidden passages on the Grand Wash and Cohab Trail. Capitol Reef is a certified International Dark Sky Park. Return home if you must, or plan an early departure tomorrow morning so you can renew yourself again under the pitch black night sky and the billions of stars it reveals.
Spend a few days away from the hustle and bustle and gain a new appreciation for the peace you’ll find in wild places.
Ashdown Gorge Wilderness Area
The Ashdown Gorge trail begins at Cedar Canyon in a parking lot located near the north entrance of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Hike westward, and enjoy several overlooks of the monument along the way.
From trophy trout to tiger trout and the Arctic grayling, all converge at Boulder Mountain for the catching. Enjoy the added bonus of Southern Utah beautiful scenery.
Bryce Canyon Fairyland Loop
An enjoyable day hike, this route loops through the Fairyland amphitheater just north of Bryce Canyon past many interesting rock formations.
What was originally developed as a cattle trail blazed by stockman John Atlantic Burr, the Burr Trail Scenic Backway is now one of the most picturesque drives in Utah.
Cottonwood Canyon Road
Pack your camera, water, snacks, maps, and hiking shoes for fun adventure in Cottonwood Canyon.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome Basin covers 2,240 acres of canyon country and is surrounded by Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument on three sides.
Thousand Lake Mountain
The funny thing about Thousand Lake Mountain is there aren't actually very many lakes there. Local lore has it that a cartographer mixed up the names of Thousand Lakes Mountain and nearby Boulder Mountain on the first maps of the area and the mistake was never corrected.
So don’t be let down by the name when you visit, but do check out this scenic, off-the-beaten path destination. You can drive Thousand Lake Mountain Road, a 35-mile scenic backway, from Fremont all the way through the Cathedral Valley section of Capitol Reef National Park. Once you descend into the Reef, a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. The jaunt takes you through alpine forests, around craggy cliffs, and past panoramic view points. If you only have a passenger vehicle, depending on the weather, you should be able to make it to the Deep Creek Desert overlook just past Snow Lake. Along the way, there are lakes and two-tracks for exploring as well as plenty of scenery.