The Top 5 Highways And Byways Of Southern Utah

Explore the road less traveled.

By: Phill Monson

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Southern Utah is home to some of the most incredible scenery in the Southwest: Arches, Zion, and the Grand Staircase just to name a few. When planning a trip however, it's best to know where to go to give you the most bang for your buck. This list of the top five scenic drives should give you a good idea of where to find your next adventure in Southern Utah so start making your plans now!

1. Highway 191

Night Photography in Moab | Photo: Phill Monson

This beautiful drive will take you to the entrance of two national parks: Arches and Canyonlands, as well as the great adventure town of Moab. Keep driving and connect with Highway 163 to end up among some epic spots such as Monument Valley. If going, make sure to spend a night out under the stars.

2. Highway 24

Explore The Factory Butte Badlands | Photo: Phill Monson

If you want a little more seclusion, think about taking the road less traveled of Highway 24. Usually passed up for more well-known locations, Highway 24 offers other-worldly landscapes such as Goblin Valley and the San Rafael Swell. Be sure to visit the aptly named Factory Butte Arches for what's sure to feel like a visit to Mars.

3. Byway 12

Capture Bryce Canyon During Monsoon Season | Photo: Phill Monson

A designated All-American Highway, this 122 mile stretch will broaden your horizons and give you a new perspective on life. Like taking a journey back in time, this route gives you a glimpse into the past like none other. Entering into the northern part of the Grand Staircase National Monument, you'll be at the doorstep to endless adventures, including the incomparable Bryce Canyon.

4. Hole In The Rock

Explore Sunset Arch | Photo: Phill Monson

As a great side trip to Byway 12, this dirt road on the outskirts of the town of Escalante will take you deep within the Grand Staircase. If solitude and geologic wonders are your thing, this is the road for you. This 55 mile road ends at literally a hole in the rock where Mormon pioneers drove their wagons through to what is now Lake Powell. While the road can be challenging to drive (high-clearance is recommended), the rewards are innumerable. Drive 36 miles down to Dance Hall Rock, or for even more adventure, take a visit to Sunset Arch to witness some of the darkest skies on Earth.

5. Highway 89

Explore The Rimrock Hoodoos | Photo: Phill Monson

Another American classic, this highway takes you through quaint small towns and amazing scenery of the Southwest. Another way to explore the Staircase National Monument, though from the southern half, you can visit the Rimrock Hoodoos for what looks like a prehistoric playground.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.