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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Utah Hwy 143 Becomes A National Scenic Byway

Running between Parowan on the west and Panguitch on the east, Utah Hwy 143 provides access to stunningly beautiful areas including Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument. The route has long provided a favorite drive for locals and has now won the designation of National Scenic Byway.

The Deseret News has this article about the new byway. Below are excerpts.

A steep, high-elevation road offering a wide spectrum of mountain and red-rock scenery is the Beehive State's newest national scenic byway.

The Federal Highway Administration announced Friday that state Route 143, nicknamed "Utah's Patchwork Parkway," running from Parowan through Brian Head to Panguitch, now has that designation.

"There are several overlooks and pullouts where one can view Cedar Breaks National Monument, Brian Head Peak, Markagunt Plateau, Vermillion Castle, Panguitch Lake, lava fields, historic sites, meadows of summer wild flowers and, during autumn, aspen groves of brilliant fall colors," Dalton said. There also are trails, side roads and petroglyphs. The highway also offers excellent star-gazing opportunities.

State Route 143 is Utah's second-highest paved road, topping out at an elevation of 10,567 feet at Cedar Breaks. (Only the Mirror Lake Highway is higher.) It is also the steepest paved state road, with a maximum grade of 13 percent. It climbs 4,600 feet in about 18 miles from Parowan to Cedar Breaks National Monument.

The Spectrum has this article. Below are excerpts.

State Route 143 takes passengers from Parowan through Brian Head and on to Panguitch. It features beautiful canyons, awe-inspiring cliffs and lush forests along a peaceful stretch of road, which is located near the proposed national park and present-day Cedar Breaks National Monument. Obtaining the designation wasn't easy, but it was a worthwhile project.

The designation may not seem all that important to those who don't enjoy drives through some of this region's scenic landscapes. But many tourists plan their travels around these kinds of byways. They enjoy the slower pace of these byways and enjoy the opportunity to see the beauty that this country has to offer, albeit off the beaten paths of our interstates.

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