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Utah Road Trip

Updated on February 6, 2015

Take a Road Trip to the Ultimate U.S. Driving State, Utah, from Salt Lake to Moab

Utah is one of the best states to plan a road trip, and in fact, it's the best way to see the state. There's only one major airport and city within the state, Salt Lake City, and the rest of the destinations are very spread out. A Utah road trip will allow you some incredible opportunities for sightseeing, with breathtaking mountains, some of the best National Parks in the U.S., charming small towns and of course, the great city of Salt Lake.

Road Sign Warns of Upcoming Road Conditions on a Utah Desert Highway, Utah

Intro photo of Route 12, Utah by Wolfgang Staudt, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Scenic Driving in Utah - Take advantage of one of the best driving states in the USA

Driving in Utah is a road tripper's dream. National Parks, winding roads, high mountains, low deserts, unique wildlife, roadside diners, big cities, small towns... everything you could ask for is in the beautiful state. This guide gives an excellent feel for the entire state, with beautifully illustrated photographs, tips and suggestions for your road travels.

Scenic Driving Utah, 2nd (Scenic Driving Series)
Scenic Driving Utah, 2nd (Scenic Driving Series)

From the lush alpine terrain of the Uinta and Wasatch Mountains to the fantastic rock formations of Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, and Bryce Canyon National Parks, discover Utah's treasures. This guide features twenty-eight drives that highlight the natural and cultural history of the land of the Great Salt Lake.


Avoid the heat in your car!

Keep your valuables and anything meltable under a light towel. It's a good idea to not leave your luggage (especially electronics) in the car for a long period of time. The heat can cause serious damage in minutes.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - The remote, fossil rich fronteir of Utah

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Closeby to Glen Canyon Recreation Area and Lake Powell is the beautiful Grand Staircase-Escalante region of Utah. Of the lower 48 states, the Grand Staircase Monument has the distinct honor of being the last area to be mapped out, and is largely still untraveled because of its vastness and remoteness. The area is made of high plateausand multi colored cliffs, composed largely of sedimentary rock that is highly studied to this day by paleontologists and scientists. Dinosaur and other prehistoric fossils are not a rare occurance in this land.

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area - Enjoy the 1.25 million acres of desert wilderness for camping, boating and sightseeing

Lake Powell

Above: Lake Powell

It's a summer getaway for many people seeking refuge from the dry desert. Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area cover 1.25 million acres of land to explore and enjoy. Recreational activities that are popular include boating, one of the biggest activities, camping, sightseeing (there's petroglyphs located within the boundaries of the recreation area), and swimming.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Not so far from Zion and Bryce Canyon, you can find the hidden ampitheater known as Cedar Breaks National Monument. Just like Bryce Canyon, you can find strange rock spire formations and a vast open canyon-like setting. Unlike Bryce, though, this won't have the long lines of traffic in the summer, or all of the annoying tourists. If it's a weekend day, you might want to plan to head here instead of Bryce, then hit Bryce on a weekday.

Take Your Own Car or Rent? - The pros and cons of taking your own car

Taking your own car has its pros and cons. A rental, on the other hand, has its pros and cons, too. If you take your own car on a road trip to Utah, you might be exposing it to some adverse conditions like extreme heat, but on the other hand, you know your own car, you'll feel comfortable in it, and you'll save money versus a car rental. Renting a car costs money, but has a lot of positives.

1. You won't be putting the stress on your car.

2. You'll keep the mileage down in your car.

3. You won't have to worry about it getting stolen because it isn't yours (granted the rental is insured).

4. You can get a better mileage car like a hybrid just for the trip.

5. Cars with navigation built in are often available.

The Four Corners Monument

The meeting point of four U.S. states

The Four Corners National Monument is a fun trip, basically just the point where the four states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona converge. There's a marker on the ground that marks the spot. It's close in relation to Monument Valley and Sunset Crater, so it you can work it into your trip easily.

Photo by dbaron on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Valley of the Gods - Utah's little known desert gem

Sandstone Monoliths, Valley of the Gods

Affectionately known as the mini Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods bears a resemblance to its larger sister park, but is much more remote (yes, it is possible), and can only be accessed via a long dirt road.

Goblin Valley

Have You Been to Utah? Have any travel tips to share? - Share your Utah experience!

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    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      @Pat Goltz: I'm not sure which state most of the reservation area lies in, but it is one of the most remote areas I've ever been to. I'd love to get there again someday.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 5 years ago

      I have been to many of these beautiful places. I looked at a map, studied it for awhile, and determined that MOST of Monument Valley is actually in Arizona.

    • worldwidesouven profile image

      worldwidesouven 5 years ago

      Red Canyon what is close to Bryce Canyon is also a wonderful plase and worth to visit. It is located directly on the road in couple of miles from Bryce.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Kanab is a good place to visit. Many movies were filmed there.

    • hawkeye11 lm profile image

      hawkeye11 lm 5 years ago

      Canyonlands is by far my favorite!!

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 5 years ago

      Utah is one of those magical places that I have pinned on my "to visit" map!

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 5 years ago

      Utah is one of those magical places that I have pinned on my "to visit" map!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      Beautiful! Thanks!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      Fabulous pictures!!! I haven't been to Utah yet but I hope to go someday. It looks like a gorgeous state! I just finished a lens on Utah for Teachers & Travelers. I'd love it if you'd stop by and let me know if I missed anything important.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I spent a few days driving through Utah in 1998. We came in through Page after being at the Grand Canyon, went to Hurricane where we stayed the first night, then a very short visit to Zion National Park, then on to Moab where we spent two nights and had a ball exploring Arches National Park. We then continued on through Colorado. I love the place and would really like to return someday.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm from Utah. I love so many places here. The diversity of the terrain in this state is amazing.

    • Jillynn profile image

      Jillynn 6 years ago

      I am from Utah and never get enough of the amazing things to do and see. Go. Words cannot describe what you will see.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 6 years ago from Keller, Texas

      I've been to SLC twice in the last 10 years and would love to see the rest of the state! Beautiful and informative lens.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Lived in St. George in 1963-4, one daughter born there, middle one of three. Oldest daughter now lives in Teasdale, just west of Capital Reef. We visit a couple of times a year. Great country to visit and explore. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • LDWorld profile image

      LDWorld 6 years ago

      In Utah right now :)

    • BlueTrane profile image

      BlueTrane 6 years ago

      Monument Valley and just a drive through on my way to Yellowstone. I've always wanted to see more of the state, but have just not taken the time to plan/execute a trip. Great lens.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 6 years ago

      Amazing high quality lens. Squid Angel Blessings to one of the most consistently excellent lens masters and one of the best travel writers I know.

    • profile image

      ActiveNewZealand 6 years ago

      We stopped off on our road trip and hike Buckskin Gulch - we didn't see one other person all day and it was incredible. I can't wait to get back to Utah - and I'm taking my bike next time!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      returning reader! I live in Utah so I enjoyed viewing this again.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 6 years ago from Idaho

      We are actually thinking of going to Arches in a couple weeks! I really enjoyed this virtual road trip through Utah through your lens and am looking forward to seeing it in person. Blessed!

    • profile image

      trippste 6 years ago

      Nice lens! I love taking road trips.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      This is a road trip I need to the photos. Blessed

    • crimenomore lm profile image

      crimenomore lm 7 years ago

      Thanks for making a lens about the great state of Utah. You mentioned that it is pretty rural and those of us who call it home, love that part about our State. Touring it on Motor Cycles is also great. We horse back ride the back country and fish our streams. Thanks for creating this lens.

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 7 years ago

      I haven't traveled to Utah since I was very young and would like to travel here again with my kids when they get a little older. But you have some great tip's and look forward to using them when I go on a road trip. thank you.

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 7 years ago from USA

      Great recommendations and breathtaking views for a Utah road trip. Blessed again by a Squid Angel ~

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Always love your road trips...blessed and added to my December Blessings lens.

    • techjunkie11 profile image

      techjunkie11 7 years ago

      I love that you drive 30 minutes in any direction and you get a new view. From the forests in northern Utah to the desert in southern Utah there is so much to see. Great Lens!

    • Sami4u LM profile image

      Sami4u LM 7 years ago


      The little pop up monster came up and said "900 SquidLikes! Tell the author of this lens. Might be fun." Ok I'm telling you :)

      I drove through Utah a few times, I don't remember all this stuff. Must not be on I 80 I guess I miss the best part of the state need to go back the next time on I 15 to see this.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 7 years ago

      I had the pleasure of taking a Utah road trip many years ago. It was so beautiful. My favorite was Zion park. I swear I recall being at the exact spot as the photo above. Lensrolled to Chimney Rock Park.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 8 years ago

      I love Utah, especially Zion. Salt Lake City is such a nice place also. It's a very beautiful state.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 8 years ago

      I love Utah, especially Zion. Salt Lake City is such a nice place also. It's a very beautiful state.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Awesome Pix!

      Utah is such a great place to explore.

      Salt Lake Valley is looking very amazing in this image.

      The road sign really shows the bed raod condition of highway.

    • bigjoe2121 profile image

      bigjoe2121 8 years ago

      who would have thought that *utah* was so gorgeous. thank you. i can't wait to visit

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 8 years ago

      Nicely done! Beautiful photos too. Leaving Angel Blessings :)

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      As always you have created an exceptional lens. I visited Utah this year as part of a long road trip and particularly enjoyed staying there. Park City was my favorite place. I want to return back next year and see Bryce and Zion. Angel Blessings to you

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      You presented these Utah locations very well. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 8 years ago

      This is a truly exceptional and beautiful lens! Congratulations on the much deserved Purple Star. I live in Utah right next to the Provo River Trail and it's cool to see familiar destinations you've shared. :)

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      What a beautiful lens :-)

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 8 years ago

      Gorgeous - Southern Utah has some of the prettiest scenery in the U.S. and you can't beat the skiing around Salt Lake City. My brother-in-law and his family lived in Salt Lake for a few years and we enjoyed our trips there. Fantastic pics. 5* and a big hearty congrats on the purple star.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 8 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I've been a few of these places, it really is worth the trip! Love all the photos!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Informative and colourful lens. Thanks you.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I've never been out west and I so want to!



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