Sometimes it’s not so much the destination, but rather the journey that makes a road trip so worthwhile. That’s what you’ll find in the state of Utah. There are several road trip itineraries that offer fascinating places of interest for you to pull off the road. There’s also stunning scenery, and plenty of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy during our favorite road trips Utah.
A Utah road trip offers something for everyone — from unique landscapes to scenery and history. There’s a variety of hiking and biking along the way, and no shortage of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are a few of the best road trips Utah that you don’t want to skip out on.
Some of the most popular Utah destinations include Moab, Arches National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Goblin Valley State Park and Canyonlands National Park. But here are some slightly more off the beaten path Utah road trips.
The Alpine Loop
Your adventure starts out at the American Fork Canyon, and you’ll take the Utah Highway 92 towards the Uinta National Forest. Be sure to stop at the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, where you can hike to some really neat caves and other nifty rock formations. Soon after, you’ll arrive at the Uinta National Forest, where there are all kinds of recreational and outdoor activities you won’t want to miss.
Leaving the National Forest, you’ll run into stunning and breathtaking scenery at Empire Pass. To finish off your trip, lodge at the Sundance Resort, which offers concerts, ziplining, snowboarding, and other epic thrilling activities for you to enjoy.
Insider Tip: Before you head out on your road trip, be sure to check out our ultimate road trip food list!
Mirror Lake Scenic Byway
You’ll start your journey off in Kamas. But make sure you come hungry, and enjoy a filling breakfast at the Mirror Lake Diner. Heading down the highway, be sure to look out for Moose and other wildlife that make their way across the road.
Throughout your drive, you’ll reach an elevation of 10,000 feet, which will tell you that you’ve reached Bald Mountain Pass and Overlook. There will be plenty of fantastic scenic views and landscapes for you to capture. Then head down to Mirror Lake, a great fishing and recreational area that’s great for the whole family.
Just to make this perfectly clear, Nebo Loop is not accessible during the winter. Start your trip in the town of Nephi, which has stunning mountain scenery that you will enjoy. Be sure to have your camera ready, because there are several scenic overlooks that you will come across along the way.
Make sure to pay a visit to Devil’s Kitchen, a fun and beautiful place to explore and hike. Just don’t forget to pack plenty of water. Then make your way to Payson Canyon, where you’ll enjoy 3 different lakes that have a number of activities for you to choose from.
Take the “All American Road” from Capitol Reef National Park to Red Canyon
A Utah road trip doesn’t get much better than visiting two National Parks while traveling on scenic Byway 12. This is one that you may want to plan out and prioritize specific stops and you could spend days exploring.
Once you’re outside of Boulder, if there’s no rain on the horizon I’d encourage you to get on Hell’s Backbone Road. This is a 38-mile looped road that has amazing views of the canyons.
Just be careful, the drop off the side of the road is deadly! Also, near there is the 5 miles hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls, a 126-foot waterfall, which has a pool that you can swim in.
You’d be highly disappointed if you missed out on a visit to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. Your family will have the opportunity to hike alongside dinosaur bones and fossils at Escalante National Monument.
There’s plenty of great camping opportunities, as well as ice fishing and swimming. At the end of your journey, make sure you visit Dixie National Forest, where you’ll find the Red Canyon. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the most photographed places in all of Utah.
There are many side trips you could make from Capitol Reef. One of our favorite towns, Bluff, Utah, isn’t far away. A stop at any of these parks is well worth your time: Monument Valley, Four Corners, Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges National Monument, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Zion National Park and Goosenecks State Park.
There are so many road trips to think about in the state of Utah. And, this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of the great highways to choose from. If you’ve visited or set out on a different Utah road trip, please share your adventures with us. What is your favorite Utah road trip itinerary? Tell us in the comments below!