3 Must-See Scenic Drives in Southern Utah

Here are three Southern Utah scenic drive recommendations that you should consider working into your upcoming trip itinerary.

Skutumpah Rd / Johnson Canyon Rd

Around 8 miles east of Kanab is a stretch of road called Johnson Canyon Rd. You’ll travel on it for about 18 miles while goes up through a canyon and finally reaching a junction. This gorgeous stretch of land treats viewers to the particularly fantastic western edge section of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (1.9 million acres). You’ll see amazing stair-like formations, including the officially named Gray, White, and Vermilion cliffs. There are many trail access points and as well as views with pullout access. Even the canyon floor lined with irrigated hay fields is a sight to see. A little over 5 miles in you’ll have an opportunity to see the long-abandoned Gunsmoke television set as well as a Dodge City replica built in the 1960s. Once you get to the junction you can choose to continue forward onto a different road. Kodachrome Basin State Park has a somewhat rough road that traces the monument boundary about 33 miles known as Skutumpah Rd. Taking Skutumpah at the Johnson junction will reward viewers with access to Willis Creek Narrows and Bull Creek Gorge which includes incredible scenery as well as tons of great hikes.

Patchwork Parkway (or Scenic Byway 143)

Often overshadowed by the better known Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument is an awesome sight to behold, and this scenic drive will show it to you in addition to many other great sights. Scenic Byway 143 (as it is officially called) is approximately 51 miles long, takes you through the scenic Utah towns Panguitch and Parowan, and offers amazing views of desert and forest landscapes, old lava flows, ancient rock art, wildflowers, and meadows. There’s even a side road you can take that leads to the summit of Brian Head. Breathtaking views alert! Soon your your drive will take you onto Highway 148 straight to Cedar Breaks. In many ways it is similar in appearance to Bryce Canyon, sporting stunning amphitheaters, buttresses, fins, and hoodoos.

Zion Park Scenic Byway

Probably the most well-known Southern Utah scenic drive on this list, Utah Highway 9 – otherwise known as the Zion Park Scenic Byway – is a 60-mile stretch of road that spans a distance between Hurricane, UT, and Carmel Junction. You’ll get majestic scenery in the form of towering cliffs and dazzling canyons as well as famous Zion landmarks like the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel and Checkerboard Mesa. The road takes you through Pine Creek Canyon as well, as you weave on switchbacks through the canyon. Many people choose to begin in Kanab, making your initial trip to Carmel Junction only 20 miles as you drive on US 89 and then turning toward Zion by taking Highway 9. You can even continue through Springdale and take a small detour to see the old ghost town, Grafton (where the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was shot).

southern utah scenic drive

3 Must-See Scenic Drives in Southern Utah

Southern Utah Scenic Drive

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