Thursday, May 2, 2019

9 Breath Taking Scenic Drives in Utah

9 Breath-Taking Scenic Drives in Utah blog cover

In addition to tons of recreational areas and opportunities spread throughout the state, Utah is also home to some of the most attractive scenery in the world. A good number of them are situated along major roads so you can enjoy the beauty of nature without leaving the comfort of your car.

Below are 9 breathtaking scenic drives you can explore in Utah:

highway road stretching for miles to reach desert plateaus

1. Monument Valley

Also known as the Valley of Rocks, Monument Valley is situated on the lower region of the Colorado Plateau and is characterized by a cluster of buttes, with the largest one standing at a height of 1000 ft above sea level.

The view of the rock formations is a jaw-dropping sight. Because of the rather overwhelming presence, visitors have more than once requested a guide from the neighboring Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park so as to learn more about the area's history.

Visitors pay an access fee to drive through the 17-mile dirt road through the Valley. However, some places such as Mystery Valley and Hunts Mesa are accessible only through a guided tour. The drive is a 2-3 hour road trip and worth every minute.

highway winding through hills with trees

2. Logan Canyon Scenic Drive

A scenic drive along Logan Canyon Scenic Byway is certainly one-of-a-kind. The surrounding dramatic landscape was primarily formed by earthquakes and the mountains that tower on either side of the road leaves an enchanting feel.

The drive through Logan Canyon is packed with mountains, trees, and a river combining to give you a view of nature at its best. Some major attractions in this area include Utah State University, Logan City, Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, and Bear Lake.

The length of the drive is approximately 39 miles long, starting from the Logan, UT and ending at the Garden City, UT.

3. Colorado River Scenic Byway

The Colorado River is no doubt one of the mightiest rivers in North America, but there's plenty more to see than just the water along the Colorado River Scenic Byway.

Along the way, you can choose to explore the Grandstaff Canyon just three miles from Moab with a two-mile-long hike leading to Morning Glory Natural Bridge. Other attractions in the area include Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. So make sure you budget enough time to explore them fully.

The 47-mile long drive starts from Moab, UT and ends at Cisco, UT.

red road winding through tall red rocks

4. Zion Canyon Loop

This 146 mile-long loop through Zion Canyon rewards travelers with breathtaking views of monoliths, colorful cliffs, and ancient lava outcroppings.

The three-mile natural amphitheater formed as a result of thousands of years of erosion at Cedar Breaks National Monument is a must-see. You can also hike and explore Snow Canyon State Park to take a closer view of its historic petroglyphs and desert vegetation.

5. Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway

In addition to the colorful rocky scenes along the Trail of the Ancients, travelers also get to explore preserved bits of the ancient Anasazi people who inhabited the area.

Its geologic drama, complex plant and animal life, and the relationship between the waters and the rocks are bound to provoke you, making the experience simply unforgettable. A stop at the Hovenweep National Monument allows you to explore some of the Anasazi structures dating back to as early as 450 AD.

The 32-mile long trail starts from Montezuma Creek, UT and ends at Bluff, UT.

6. Flaming Gorge-Uintas Scenic Byway

Spanning approximately 80 miles, this drive starts from Manila, UT and takes you through the adjoining Uinta Mountains, Sheep Creek Canyon, and through the Ashley National Forest.

If you can spare some time, make a stop at the Swett Ranch – a ranch ran by the US Forest Service which also happens to have a nearby water recreation area at Flaming Gorge. Once in Vernal, UT, make sure you visit the National Dinosaur Monument and explore the fossils of these long-gone giants.

cyclist riding through hills with trees

7. Huntington-Eccles Canyon Scenic Byway

Also known as the Energy Loop, this scenic byway travels from Fairview and winds across the Manti-La Sal National Forest, rising close to 10,000 ft above sea level. You'll get to explore the rich history of industrial development, the historic mining towns, and the power plants fired by coal.

Don’t miss the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, one of the favorite attractions in the area with countless fossilized bones dating back to the prehistoric era. This drive is 76 miles long and starts from Huntington, UT and ends at Colton, UT.

8. SR 313 to Dead Horse Point

Located in Moab, UT, this scenic trail stretches 23 miles through the desert plateaus on the way to Dead Horse Point State Park. Beautiful scenery captures your attention before your very first turn.

The cliffs and the interesting rock formations are not a new sight in Utah, but their vibrant nature is bound to dazzle you, all the same. Once at Dead Horse Point State Park, you will have tons of hiking trails to choose from.

One of the most visited spots is the visitors center which provides details relating to the area’s rich history of cowboys rounding up wild horses.

9. Scenic Byway 12

Also known as State Route 12, this scenic drive takes you through Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon. You can expect a ton of recreational opportunities and stunning views throughout your drive.

Along this Byway, you will discover the massive Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the unmistakable beauty of Boulder Mountain. Interact with the welcoming folks and get a fill of the history to strengthen the fabric of your trip.

Your 141-mile long drive starts from Panguitch, UT all the way to Fruita, UT.