Road tripping through Utah is remarkable for the tremendous diversity of scenic grandeur on display, as well as for the way Utah stands out culturally from its neighbours in the American West. Each journey is a photographer’s paradise, a hiker’s nirvana, a Western historian’s feast, and a geologist’s ultimate dream world. And much of what Utah has to offer is just waiting to be enjoyed through the lens of a favourite American pastime: the road trip.
But in a wonderland so vast, how do you maximise your time, choose the best routes, and avoid riding by some of the most fascinating natural and cultural attractions in Utah that might be hidden just off the road?
To help in your quest, we’ve pulled together guides and information to the network of scenic roads that wind their way through Utah’s diverse landscapes, including the must-do scenic road trips through our most popular destination and our Top 10 Undiscovered Road Trips. While many of our must-do road trip itineraries and roads less travelled do include portions of — or entire — designated scenic byways, we also have a catalog of our designated scenic byways with links to google maps of the routes. In fact, there are 27 designated scenic byways in our route inventory. That means no matter where your compass in pointing, when you plan a Utah road trip, you’re bound to encounter our most photo-worthy rides.
So pack some snacks, bring your binoculars, plan some spectacular stops and get ready to write your own story about these scenic road trips along the highways and backways that traverse the state. Your Utah road trip is about to begin.
Seven Must-do Road Trip Itineraries
Sometimes roads take you from point A to point B. In Utah, the road is also the point.
We’ve curated seven adventurous road trips from Utah’s 2,200 miles of scenic byways to help you make the most of the season. For a long weekend (or mid-week escape if you prefer), you’ll find three- and four-day itineraries below to both hit the open road and get out of the car to explore.
Grab your hiking boots and roll down the windows. Your Life Elevated road trip starts here:
Drive an impossibly beautiful road built by humans through divine lands. Scenic Byway 12 is a truly bucket-list drive.
Highlights: Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks, Kodachrome Basin and Escalante Petrified Forest state parks, Calf Creek Falls
Location: Southern Utah
Start From: Panguitch or Torrey
Known widely for impressive canyons and imaginative hoodoos, southwest Utah also astonishes with diverse beauty among lesser-known red rock landscapes that are beyond compare.
Highlights: Snow Canyon State Park, Zion–Mt. Carmel Tunnel on S.R. 9, Capitol Reef, Kolob Canyons
Location: Southwest Utah
Start From: St. George
Visit iconic and introspective places on roads that intersect with prehistory and monumental formations.
Highlights: Canyonlands National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Location: Southeast Utah/Four Corners Region
Start From: Monticello/Canyonlands National Park
Get to know Moab like a local by hiking, biking, eating and stargazing away your days; share epic tales of your experiences.
Highlights: Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Dead Horse Point State Park, Colorado River rafting, Moab dining
Location: Southeast Utah
Start From: Moab (adventure basecamp)
See dinosaurs, goblins and the petroglyphs of the “World’s Longest Art Gallery” in a rugged and beautiful place.
Highlights: Nine Mile Canyon, Goblin Valley State Park, San Rafael Swell
Location: Central Utah
Start From: Price (adventure basecamp)
Uncover the best of the Wasatch Range by boat, paddle, car and rail. Beautiful no matter the season but especially stunning during the fall.
Highlights: Wasatch Mountain State Park, Jordanelle Reservoir, Devil’s Kitchen on Mt. Nebo Scenic Byway, Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
Location: Northern Utah/Wasatch Mountains
Start From: Salt Lake City, Provo, Park City or Heber
Join the flock: the season is ripe for outdoor adventure and tranquil retreats in Northern Utah
Highlights: Salt Lake City, Historic Fruit Way, Willard Bay, Golden Spike, Logan Canyon, Bear Lake, Ogden Valley
Location: Top of Utah
Start From: Salt Lake City, Ogden, Brigham City or Logan