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Utah: the road trip of a lifetime

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Looking at a Utah holiday? We’ll help steer you in the right direction.

You often can’t wait to arrive at your destination when travelling in a car. But when you’re on one of Utah’s iconic road trips, this isn’t the case – instead, you’ll be slowing right down in awe of the surrounding scenery. In Utah, it’s not about the destination but the journey.


The perfect place for a classic American-style road trip, Utah is home to 28 scenic byways, including roads that wind through The Mighty 5® National Parks, ski resorts, forests, and plenty of treasure-filled towns.

What comes with these epic driving routes are scenic views and a host of outdoorsy things to do. From taking beautiful photos and hiking through extraordinary scenery to wildlife watching and learning about Utah’s history - this will be an experience you’ll never forget. 

With many beautiful byways to choose from, we understand the mechanics of planning a road trip are enough to drive you crazy, so we’ve made it easy for you and narrowed the options down to four top picks. 


Ready to experience 123 miles of pure driving bliss? Connecting U.S. 89 near Panguitch to S.R. 24 near Torrey, Scenic Byway 12 is the all-American road trip you’ve been dreaming of - jagged terracotta rock towers, picture-perfect pine forests, and breathtaking canyons await.

One of the route’s many highlights is ‘The Hogsback’. Located between Calf Creek Recreation Area and the town of Boulder, expect sandstone cliff views and a steep terrain drop at each side.

Marvel at the astonishing Red Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park, not to mention the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, interspersed with national forests and state lands. There are heaps of geological wonders to uncover here, plus character-filled towns. Boulder, Cannonville, and Tropic, for example, are all intriguing places to explore. 


If you like your history, this 500+ mile loop is a prehistoric adventure stretching across Utah and Colorado. If you’ve ever wanted to see dinosaur remains, this is the place to do it. Dinosaurs once roamed here, and discoveries are made yearly, including fossils and bones from millions of years ago! 

These quarries are a Palaeontologist’s dream, and there are plenty of opportunities for tourists to see fascinating dinosaur fossils. We recommend starting at Dinosaur National Monument, which has 200,000 acres of dinosaur fossils, ancient stones, skeletons, and petroglyphs. A highlight is the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit - a Mesozoic wall of dinosaur skulls and femurs. 

You’ll also find museums with reconstructed skeletons and other fascinating prehistoric findings along this route, including the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum. Interestingly, this museum displays skeletal remains of the Utahraptor, a gigantic Dromaeosaur and star of the blockbuster Jurassic Park

Aside from prehistoric discoveries, this highway drive boasts an impressive backdrop of epic wildlife, beautiful rivers, red-rock canyon cliffs, and glistening rivers. All of which provide the perfect base for outdoorsy activities and adventures such as hiking, biking, watersports, and more!


Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood are in the heart of the jaw-dropping Wasatch-Cache National Forest, near Salt Lake City and located within the Rocky Mountains.

Big Cottonwood is a glorious natural playground and a 15-mile-long drive; this is one of the most popular Utah road trips. The drive begins at the canyon’s mouth, heading east on S.R. 190. It’s incredibly scenic here, with fantastic hiking and rock climbing, especially during summer. You can head through the top of the canyon, taking in the awe-inspiring alpine scenery. Another option is to stop off and visit one of the picnic areas available, including Ledgemere, Birches, and Storm Mountain Picnic Area, to name a few. 

Little Cottonwood Scenic Byway - S.R. 210 - begins at the canyon’s mouth and can be accessed by taking I-215 to 6200 South exit. Although smaller in size, the drive is just as stunning and offers many of the same recreational activities as its northern neighbour. If you’re looking for a road trip filled with nature, this is the one for you – there are jaw-dropping wilderness areas on either side of this fascinating canyon.

Both Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood are particularly picturesque in the autumn and winter, from driving through the kaleidoscope of autumn leaves to flying down the slopes at one of the popular ski resorts. 


If you like the sound of luscious greenery, tranquil surroundings, wildlife-rich natural wonders, and shimmering turquoise water, then the Logan Canyon to Odgen Scenic Byway Route is the one for you.

You’ll start your adventure at Brigham City, and if you’re visiting during summer or autumn, we’d recommend a trip along the Historic Fruit Way before heading up the canyon.

Located between Utah’s captivating Cache Valley and the crystal-blue Bear Lake is a driving dream come true - the 41-mile Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway. As far as scenic sights go, this journey has it all. The diverse terrain and outstanding geology of Wasatch-Cache National Forest are truly magnificent - you’ll pass trees ablaze with yellow and orange hues and majestic mountainside sights. You’ll then complete the Bear Lake Scenic Byway and continue the back way - S.R. 30 to S.R. 16 - to access the Ogden River Scenic Byway - S.R. 39. This epic route is great for driving and outdoor adventuring. Explore historic towns, be at one with nature, enjoy refreshing reservoirs, relax on sandy beaches, and more.


There’s no need to anticipate the destination on a Utah road trip. The journey will be one epic adventure and one you’ll likely remember for years to come. 

From breathtaking views to outdoor explorations - if you like the sound of our top four scenic byways and are revving for a Utah holiday, speak to one of our Travel Specialists, or visit your nearest Travelbag Shop.

Sponsored by Visit The USA and Utah Office of Tourism.


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