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5 Days   •   420 Miles

Panoramas of Ancient Life

Loop through time along portions of the dramatic Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway, which intersects with Ancestral Puebloan history of the Bears Ears National Monument and Four Corners area and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This is a place where monumental landforms connect with the sky, and vast fields of stars fill the night skies.

On your road trip, you'll see evidence of early cultures who built a life in the ruggedly beautiful Canyonlands region, including the incredible cliff dwellings of Hovenweep National Monument. You'll realize, this was a very different way of life. In these sparsely populated lands, it is easy to imagine this place before humans.

After seeing the Valley of the Gods and massive natural bridges with mythological significance, you'll learn about a more primitive time and place, and maybe learn a little about modern life in the process.

Day 1

Human History & Geologic Magnificence

175 Miles

Start: Moab area or Canyonlands National Park
See: Resplendent lands and a window into our past
Explore: The Needles District of Canyonlands, Indian Creek unit of Bears Ears and Monticello
Options: The Needles Overlook (S.R. 133), Newspaper RockThe Dinosaur MuseumAncient Cliff Dwellings
Scenic Routes: Indian Creek to Canyonlands, Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway
Roads: Highway 191, S.R. 211
Night: Monticello or Blanding

Day 2

Hovenweep and Four Corners

120 Miles

Start: Edge of the Cedars State Park or Visitor Center Trail of the Ancient Heritage Area
See: The quadripoint among tribal lands, ancient architecture and rock art
Explore: Bluff area history and recreation, and prehistoric cliff dwellings
Options: Butler Wash, a trip down the San Juan*
Scenic Routes: Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway
Roads: U.S. 163, S.R. 162 and 262
Night: BluffMexican Hat or Gouldings

*River option adds at least a full day, with longer river trips available

Day 3

The Spirit of Monument Valley

25 Miles

Start: Quiet sunrise over monumental buttes
See: Sweeping panoramas in sacred Navajo lands
Explore: Mittens and indigenous lifestyle
Options: Guided tour of Monument Valley Tribal Park
Scenic Routes: Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway, Monument Valley Scenic Drive
Roads: U.S. 163
Miles: 25–75
Night: Monument Valley Area

Day 4

Goosenecks State Park, Valley of the Gods and Cedar Mesa

100 Miles

Start: In a faraway land so hauntingly familiar
See: Eye-popping Moki Dugway switchbacks* and remote, dramatic landscapes
Explore: Remote landscapes, Cedar Mesa, Kane Gulch Ranger Station
Options: ; Grand Gulch Primitive Area (Backpackers)
Scenic Routes: Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway
Roads: U.S. 163, S.R. 261, 275 and 95
Night: Mexican Hat, Goulding's or Natural Bridges camping

*Not recommended for large RVs or trailers

Day 5

Natural Bridges National Monument and the Bicentennial Byway

0 Miles

See: Hite Overlook into Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Explore: Massive arches and rugged canyon country
Options: Boating from Hite Marina (depending on water level), public lands
Scenic Routes: Bicentennial Byway
Roads: S.R. 95
Night: Home

For an Extended Stay

You can access Lake Powell and the 1.2 million acres of Glen Canyon National Recreation from S.R. 276, which breaks south from S.R. 95 and Natural Bridges National Monument.

In Depth

Only an hour south of the adventure-rich Moab area a whole other incredible journey begins. You'll travel through millennia of human history when driving through these unexpected landscapes and hallowed lands as you uncover evidence of ancient peoples and witness geologic magnificence through the lens of another time.

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