Drive And Experience Scenic Utah
When You Feel the Drive to Drive in Utah
Warmer days are fast approaching, and whether you already have plans for outdoor activities, you should definitely place one of these scenic drives on your todo list. Below we have listed the top 10 best scenic drives throughout Utah. Take a day, pack your stuff, and drive through some the most beautiful landscapes Utah has to offer. Make sure to include pit stops on the way!
1. Mt. Nebo Loop.
This beautiful 38-mile drive scenic drive passes through the Uinta National Forest between Nephi and Payson. It reaches some of Utah’s highest driveable elevation and provides stunning views of Utah Valley, the Wasatch Mountains and 11,928-foot Mount Nebo, the tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range. The Wasatch mountains can be an excellent escape from the dry Utah heat.
2. Alpine Loop
Similar to the Mt. Nebo Loop, this 20-mile drive takes you through rocky alpine canyons of the Wasatch Range offering spectacular views of Mount Timpanogos and other glacier-carved peaks. The route follows Utah Hwy. 92 up American Fork Canyon, continuing through Uinta National Forest into Provo Canyon on U.S. 189. Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Robert Redford’s Sundance are located along the route.
3. Zions National Park Scenic Drive
45 miles from the small town of La Verkin, you’ll head east on Highway 9 through Zions National Park ending in Mount Carmel Junction at Highway 89. The road twists and turns through this incredibly unique landscape that needs to be seen to be believed. It allows access to the main tourist area of Zions; including The Grotto, Emerald Pools, and iconic Angel’s Landing.
4. Kane Creek Blvd, Moab
Starting at Kane Creek Blvd & Main Street in Moab, Utah the drive is on Highway 145 and about 18 Miles. The journey is one that you may not want to take your brand new car as the first couple of miles are paved, and then the road turns to gravel. The first few miles parallel the peaceful Colorado River. Then it cuts back and forth many times passing a few famous mountain biking trails. It eventually leads to Base Camp Adventure Lodge on the bank of the Colorado River once more. From here, a few different paths can be taken, but they can get pretty rough and washed out, so we recommend turning around here. The drive provides a very close-up view of some of the most beautiful red rock in the southern Utah terrain.
5. Red Canyon
Drive 15 Miles southwest of Panguitch on Highway 89, and you will reach the Red Canyon Trailhead. From there, it’s a 30 mile trip to the end of Highway 63. Many people visit popular Bryce Canyon along the way, which is amazing in itself, but many don’t continue down Highway 63. There are several breathtaking views along the route.
6. Snow Canyon State Park
The drive through the park is about 6 miles from bottom to top. This often overlooked southern Utah state park shows off volcanic spires, sand dunes, sunset colored cliffs, and twisted layers of rock. The scenery is so spectacular it has been used in several Hollywood Movies.
7. Monument Valley
Also known as Mexican Hat on Hwy 163, it is one of the most beautiful and historic parts of the state of Utah. Located in the southeastern corner of the state. Monument Valley has been used in many Hollywood movies including the famous running scene from Forrest Gump. The vast open spaces and towering rock formations will inspire you.
8. Thistle to Nephi
The journey begins in Spanish Fork Canyon where Highway 6 meets Highway 89 near Thistle. Drive 27 miles to Fairview. From Fairview continue south to Mt. Pleasant, then head west through Moroni where you’ll see Central Utah’s famous turkey farms. From Moroni, head north to Fountain Green, then on to Nephi. This quiet drive allows you to see some of Utah’s most beautiful farmland. The short canyon between Fountain Green and Nephi will allow you to see the back of iconic Mt. Nebo. We recommend going in late spring when everything is beginning to bloom.
9. Mirror Lake Highway
Drive through the Uinta Mountains on America’s only major mountain range in the east/west. Reaching 78 miles each way from Kamas, Utah to Evanston, Wyoming- the byway parallels the Provo River. The views are breathtaking from the alpine landscapes highest point at Bald Mountain Pass with overlooks of lakes and rivers. You can drive the entire scenic byway and return in more than three hours. You could even make your drive a weekend trip to include the numerous recreational activities like camping, hiking, fishing, and swimming.
10. Guardsman Pass
Connecting the Salt Lake Valley to Park City, this scenic drive is a short and sweet alternative to taking Parley’s Canyon. This backcountry drive, only open summer and fall, takes you through a lush mountain range with fields of wildflowers and thick clusters of aspens and pine trees. From Salt Lake City, head to Big Cottonwood Canyon connecting to Hwy 190 just below Brighton Ski Resort. From there you can follow the signs and enjoy the majestic views along the drive.
Make a day drive into a weekend trip!
Before you pack up and head out on one of these scenic drives for the weekend, check out our last blog The Ultimate Vehicle Checklist for a Safe Road Trip.
Wanting to make a day drive into a weekend vacation at Bryce Canyon? Here are the Top 5 Sites in Bryce Canyon.