Utah is filled with exclamation points. In some places, they’re so thick you can plow through a few dozen in a single drive. Rivers, mountains, lookouts, canyons, arches, forests, wildlife, waterfalls, red rock, all just off the open road. (You ain’t got nothin’ on us, Colorado!) Below are five of our favorite Utah scenic byways for the windows-down touring season.
Make your scenic drive a scenic weekend.
Drive where dinosaurs roamed. Stops on this national scenic byway include active quarries, backcountry sites and museums with bones, footprints and reconstructed skeletons. The route also provides access to Nine Mile Canyon’s ancient Fremont rock art and significant archeological areas...read more
The state’s first national forest scenic byway, known as “the drive through the ages.” Climbs through foothills to the 1-billion-year-old exposed geological core of the Uinta Mountains near Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. High desert, forest and a huge variety of wildlife. It takes 1:45 if you don’t stop, but you’re gonna wanna stop...read more
Maybe you just biked Slickrock or hiked through Arches. You’re tired but the red rock still beckons. Spend a couple hours driving this 44-mile byway northeast out of Moab that takes you along the Colorado River Gorge to the ghost town of Cisco. Stop along the way for Fisher Towers’ majestic red rock spires set against the snowy La Sal...read more
Utah’s mountains are pretty to look at, but they’re even better to look from. Pack up your clan and hit 10,000 feet on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, a 56-mile drive from Kamas through the Uintas to the Wyoming state line. Watch the Provo River fall down canyon walls and look out over endless alpine forest from Bald Mountain Pass...read more
If you had to see Utah in an afternoon, this would be the road to take. Starting in Panguitch, SR-12 runs 122 miles east through Dixie National Forest, Bryce Canyon National Park, past Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and ends in Torrey. Over rivers and sandstone bluffs, through forests and tunnels cut through mountains. Pack lunch and dinner...read more
Timing is important with scenic drives. Think about the best time of year (for changing leaves, ideal temperatures, etc.) and the best time of day to take your drive. Make sure you’re in the right spot to maximize the magic of sunrise or sunset. Plan enough time for side-trips and pit stops, then add an extra half hour. Cuz there’s nothing worse than rushing through a leisurely drive.