12 Best Utah Road Trips – Scenic Drives In Utah With Stops

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This article is about the best scenic drives in Utah or ultimate Utah Road trips. Utah offers some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in the United States, making it a fantastic destination for road trips. 

Utah Road Trips - scenic drives in Utah

Scenic Drives In Utah – Utah Road Trips

Here’s a list of scenic and worthwhile road trips in Utah or scenic drives in Utah, including starting and ending points, distances, things to do, and overnight stay options:

ALSO READ:  86 Interesting Facts About Utah – Cool Utah Facts

Mighty 5 National Parks Loop

The Mighty 5 National Parks Loop in Utah is worth doing because it offers a breathtaking journey through some of the most iconic and diverse national parks in the United States, showcasing surreal rock formations, deep canyons, and stunning red-rock landscapes. 

Distance: Approximately 600 miles round trip

Utah Road Trips - road trips in Utah

  • Starting Point: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Ending Point: Salt Lake City, Utah

Things to Do

  • Visit all five of Utah’s famous national parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion.
  • Hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park,
  • Experience sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park,
  • Witness the vibrant hues of Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos at sunset.
  • Hike, explore iconic natural arches, go canyoneering, and enjoy stunning vistas.

Overnight Stay Options: Camp in the national parks or nearby towns like Moab, Springdale, or Torrey.

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Salt Lake City to Park City Scenic Drive

The Salt Lake City to Park City Scenic Drive is worth doing for its short yet spectacular journey through the Wasatch Mountains, offering panoramic views of rugged peaks and verdant valleys. It’s an ideal day trip to escape the city, explore charming Park City with its year-round outdoor activities, and enjoy the scenic beauty of Utah’s mountainous terrain.

Distance: Approximately 30 miles

Utah road trips - scenic driving in Utah

    • Starting Point: Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Ending Point: Park City, Utah

Things to Do

  • Big Cottonwood Canyon: Just east of Salt Lake City, this canyon boasts lush forests, stunning granite cliffs, and opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and rock climbing.
  • Little Cottonwood Canyon: Located nearby, this canyon is famous for its towering granite walls, home to world-class rock climbing routes. You can also visit Snowbird Ski Resort for alpine scenery and dining options.
  • Guardsman Pass Scenic Overlook: Along the drive, stop at Guardsman Pass for sweeping vistas of the Wasatch Mountains and Park City below. It’s beautiful during the fall when the foliage changes colors.
  • Park City Main Street: Park City’s historic downtown is a charming stopover with quaint shops, art galleries, and excellent dining options.
  • Deer Valley Resort: If you’re visiting during the winter, Deer Valley Resort is a top-notch destination for skiing and snowboarding. 
  • Jordanelle State Park: Located just north of Park City, this state park features a reservoir where you can enjoy boating, fishing, and picnicking. 
  • Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest: Throughout the drive, you’ll pass through this expansive national forest, offering numerous pull-offs and trails for short hikes and wildlife viewing.
  • Utah Olympic Park: For a unique experience, stop at the Utah Olympic Park, where you can learn about the 2002 Winter Olympics, watch athletes train, and even take a bobsled ride or zip line.

Overnight Stay Options: Check Best Western Plus Landmark Inn & Pancake House in Park City.

Scenic Byway 12 – Utah’s All-American Road

Scenic Byway 12, Utah’s All-American Road, is worth doing because it offers an unparalleled journey through some of the most breathtaking and diverse landscapes in the American Southwest, including dramatic red rock canyons, pristine forests, and high mountain plateaus. Along the route, travelers witness stunning vistas, access to iconic national parks, and the chance to see the geological wonders of Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Capitol Reef, making it a truly unforgettable road trip experience.

Utah road tips - best road trips in Utah

Distance: Approximately 124 miles

    • Starting Point: Panguitch, Utah
    • Ending Point: Torrey, Utah

Things to Do: Drive one of the most beautiful roads in America, passing through 

  • Red Canyon, 
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, 
  • Calf Creek Falls: Take a hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls, a stunning 126-foot waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, 
  • Kodachrome Basin State Park: Explore this unique park with its colorful sandstone spires, hiking trails, opportunities for birdwatching and picnicking, and 
  • Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Hell’s Backbone Grill: Savor a meal at this renowned restaurant in Boulder, Utah, known for its delicious cuisine and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Kiva Koffeehouse: Enjoy a coffee or meal at this charming cafe with panoramic views of the Grand Staircase. It’s a great place to relax and soak in the scenery.

Overnight Stay Options: Camp in the national parks or towns along the route.

The San Rafael Swell Adventure

The San Rafael Swell Adventure Road trip is worth doing because it provides an opportunity to explore one of Utah’s hidden gems, the unique geological wonder of the San Rafael Swell, with its towering red rock formations, slot canyons, and pristine wilderness. This adventure offers a sense of remote isolation, making it an ideal escape for those seeking solitude and an authentic desert experience.

Road Trips In Utah - Scenic drives in Utah

Distance: Approximately 100 miles

    • Starting Point: Green River, Utah
    • Ending Point: Hanksville, Utah

Things to Do: 

  • Explore the unique geological features of the San Rafael Swell, including Goblin Valley State Park, 
  • Little Wild Horse Canyon, 
  • Visit the Wedge Overlook: Often called the “Little Grand Canyon of Utah,” the Wedge Overlook offers stunning panoramic views of the San Rafael River winding through a deep red rock canyon.
  • Explore Buckhorn Wash Pictographs.
  • Hike to Black Dragon Canyon.

Overnight Stay Options: Camping in Goblin Valley State Park or nearby Hanksville.

Highway 89 – The Road to Bryce Canyon

Distance: Approximately 80 miles

Utah road trips - scenic drives in Utah

Highway 89, known as “The Road to Bryce Canyon,” is worth doing for its mesmerizing drive through the stunning landscapes of southern Utah, leading travelers to the otherworldly beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park. Along this route, you’ll explore breathtaking vistas and intriguing rock formations and explore one of the most unique and photogenic national parks in the United States.

    • Starting Point: Kanab, Utah
    • Ending Point: Bryce Canyon City, Utah

Things to Do: 

  • Visit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, 
  • Enjoy scenic viewpoints along Highway 89, 
  • and explore the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon.

Overnight Stay Options: Camp in Bryce Canyon National Park or nearby Bryce Canyon City.

Utah’s Southwest Desert Loop

Utah’s Southwest Desert Loop is worth doing because it offers a captivating journey through the rugged and mesmerizing desert landscapes of the American Southwest. From the fiery red rocks of Snow Canyon to the surreal beauty of Valley of Fire State Park, this road trip showcases the diversity of desert ecosystems, unique geological features, and the opportunity to explore a rich tapestry of natural wonders.

fire state park utah

Distance: Approximately 350 miles

    • Starting Point: St. George, Utah
    • Ending Point: St. George, Utah

Things to Do: 

  • Discover the unique desert landscapes, 
  • Explore Snow Canyon State Park and Valley of Fire State Park (in Nevada), 
  • Explore the city of St. George.

Overnight Stay Options: Numerous hotels in St. George or camping options in the state parks.

Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway

The Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway is worth doing for its breathtaking drive through high desert terrain and the chance to witness the stunning Flaming Gorge Reservoir, known for its striking blue waters and red rock cliffs. This scenic byway offers numerous overlooks, outdoor activities like boating and fishing, and the opportunity to appreciate the rugged beauty of the region’s canyons and plateaus.

Utah road trips - scenic driving in Utah

Distance: Approximately 160 miles

    • Starting Point: Vernal, Utah
    • Ending Point: Manila, Utah

Things to Do: 

  • Drive along the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir, 
  • Enjoy water activities with the beautiful scenery.

Overnight Stay Options: Camp in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area or Manila.

The Golden Spike Historic Site Journey

Distance: Approximately 60 miles

The Golden Spike Historic Site Journey is worth immersing yourself in a significant chapter of American history—the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Visitors can witness the historic reenactment of the “Golden Spike” driving that connected the East and West coasts and explore the exhibits, locomotives, and artifacts that tell the story of this monumental achievement.

    • Starting Point: Ogden, Utah
    • Ending Point: Promontory, Utah

Utah road trip itinerary - scenic drives in Utah

Things to Do: 

  • Visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site, where the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869. 
  • Explore the history of railroads in the United States.

Overnight Stay Options: There are limited options nearby; consider staying in Ogden or Brigham City.

Cedar Breaks to Brian Head Adventure

The Cedar Breaks to Brian Head Adventure is worth doing for its scenic drive through the breathtaking landscapes of the Cedar Breaks National Monument and the high-elevation mountain town of Brian Head. Along this route, travelers can experience the stunning beauty of alpine meadows, colorful rock formations, and outdoor activities like skiing, mountain biking, and hiking in the Brian Head Resort area.

Utah road trip itinerary - scenic drives in Utah

Distance: Approximately 30 miles

    • Starting Point: Cedar City, Utah
    • Ending Point: Brian Head, Utah

Things to Do: 

Drive the scenic byway to Cedar Breaks National Monument, known for its stunning amphitheater, and then head to Brian Head for mountain activities year-round.

Overnight Stay Options: Lodging is available in Brian Head and Cedar City.

The Utah Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway

The Utah Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is worth doing because it offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the rich paleontological history of the region. Along this route, you can visit world-renowned dinosaur quarries, museums, and fossil sites, providing a fascinating journey into the prehistoric past and a chance to see dinosaur fossils in their natural context.

Utah Road Trips - scenic drives in Utah

Distance: Approximately 200 miles

    • Starting Point: Moab, Utah
    • Ending Point: Vernal, Utah

Things to Do: 

  • Explore the rich dinosaur history of Utah by visiting museums, fossil quarries, and Dinosaur National Monument. 
  • Hike in the beautiful landscapes along the way.

Overnight Stay Options: Hotels and campgrounds in towns along the route.

The Utah-Arizona Border Circuit

The Utah-Arizona Border Circuit is worth doing because it provides a unique opportunity to explore the captivating landscapes and geological wonders at the junction of these two states. From the iconic Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon to the beauty of Lake Powell, this road trip offers a diverse range of natural attractions and cultural experiences that make it a must-visit for any adventurer.

Antelope Canyon Utah Road trips - arizona road trips - scenic driving in Utah

Distance: Approximately 100 miles

    • Starting Point: Kanab, Utah
    • Ending Point: Page, Arizona

Things to Do: 

  • Explore the unique landscapes on the border of Utah and Arizona, including Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend.

Overnight Stay Options: Lodging options in Page, Arizona, and campgrounds near Lake Powell.

The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway – Road Trips In Utah

The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is worth doing for its enchanting drive through the Uinta Mountains, offering serene alpine lakes, lush forests, and pristine mountain landscapes. This scenic route provides a peaceful escape from the city, with opportunities for hiking, fishing, and picnicking while surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Utah’s high country and one of the best road trips in Utah.

Utah road trips - scenic drives in Utah - Utah road trip stops - Road trips in Utah

Distance: Approximately 75 miles

    • Starting Point: Kamas, Utah
    • Ending Point: Evanston, Wyoming

Things to Do:

  • Drive through the Uinta Mountains.
  • Enjoy the alpine scenery.
  • Stop at Mirror Lake for hiking, fishing, and picnicking.

Overnight Stay Options: Limited lodging near Mirror Lake; consider staying in Kamas or Evanston.

Each of these Utah road trips offers unique experiences and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or stunning vistas, there’s something for everyone in the Beehive State.

Now you know some of the best Utah Road trips with best scenic driving in Utah. Save these road trips in Utah with some best Utah road trip stops or scenic drives in Utah.

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