Whether you’re looking for a nice afternoon drive or a more lengthy road trip, one of these 8 Utah road trips will surely lead you to the perfect destination. Of course, most of the fun is enjoying the journey.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1) Fruit Way: Brigham City to Willard
Hungry? On this road trip, you can eat your way along U.S. 89 from Brigham City to Willard. Start with lunch at Maddox Ranch House.
Then check out the fresh produce stands, sampling peaches, cherries, tomatoes and more as you go.
Culminate your trip with a raspberry shake at Pettingill’s in Willard.
2) Salt Lake City to Wendover on West I-80
Every Utahn has taken this road trip at some point. Start in Salt Lake City and travel on I-80 Westbound. 15 miles later, you’ll pass historic Salt Air, which was once the scene of Big Band shows and beachgoers — now it’s a concert venue.
Stop for a quick visit at Metaphor: The Tree of Utah. The 87-foot-tall sculpture by artist Karl Momen was completed in the 1980s.
You’ll arrive in Wendover, Utah 121 miles from where you started. Most people drive right on through to Wendover, Nevada, to the casinos where you can check out a concert and lose some money at the blackjack tables.
3) Spanish Fork to Salina: Utah’s Small Towns
Take U.S. 6 from Spanish Fork, then turn off on U.S. 89 at Thistle. This ghost town was flooded in 1983 and completely covered in sediment -- you can still see some rooftops.
In Mt. Pleasant you can visit the Pioneer Historical Preservation Association Museum and Relic Home.
Continue driving 15 miles to Ephraim, the largest city in San Pete county, with over 6,000 residents.
If you’re visiting in June, you can check out the Mormon Miracle pageant in Manti.
In Sterling, check out Palisade State Park or golf at the Palisade Golf Course.
The charming little town of Gunnison has a quaint Main Street. Check out a movie at the renovated Casino Star Theater.
Grab a meal and a piece of pie at Mom’s Cafe in Salina -- a quintessential small-town cafe.
From Salina, you can turn north onto U.S. 50, which will take you back to I-15, or go south to hook into I-70.
4) Mirror Lake Scenic Byway
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway starts at Kamas. Enjoy a tasty breakfast at the Mirror Lake Diner before you begin your road trip.
Proceed with caution and make way for moose.
At 10,687 feet, you’ll reach Bald Mountain Pass.
Then, descend down to Mirror Lake.
5) Nebo Loop
The Nebo Loop is closed in the winter, but during the summer, it provides lots of amazing views. Start in Nephi.
You’ll find many scenic overlooks along the way.
Devil’s Kitchen is a popular stop. It looks a lot like a miniature Bryce Canyon.
You’ll find three lakes up Payson Canyon. The byway ends just outside of Payson, where you can rejoin I-15.
6) Ogden Canyon Loop
Take State Road 36 up Ogden Canyon. It’s narrow, winding and a little nerve-wracking in spots, but well worth it.
Emerge into Ogden Valley, a scenic valley and home to the towns of Eden and Huntsville. Enjoy some summer splashing in Pineview Reservoir.
Stop to visit the Trappist monks.
Grab a burger at the Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville.
From Huntsville, take State Road 167 to I-84 down Weber Canyon to Uintah. Stop at the Beehive Cheese Factory for some fresh, award-winning cheese.
7) Highway 12 - Capitol Reef National Park to Red Canyon
It’s called The All American Road, with a National Park at each end and plenty to see in between. Start at Capitol Reef, then go south along State Route 12.
Visit the Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder -- you’ll find lots of Anasazi Puebloan pottery and artifacts, along with some reconstructions of ancient housing.
If the weather’s good, take the Hell’s Backbone Road from Boulder for a 32 mile loop that connects you back to SR 12. You’ll travel along a gravel road along the spine of the mountain, with thousand-foot drops into the valley floor below.
Take a 5-mile roundtrip hike to see lower Calf Creek Falls -- a 126-foot waterfall and a shady pool.
See petrified logs, fossils and dinosaur bones at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.
You’ll want to allow at least a day to explore Bryce Canyon National Park.
Enjoy a short hike at Red Canyon, in the Dixie National Forest.
8) Alpine Loop
Starting at the base of American Fork Canyon, travel along Utah Highway 92, up to the Uinta National Forest and down Provo Canyon on U.S. 189.
Stop at Timpanogos Cave National Monument and take a hike to the cave.
You’ll drive through the Uinta National Forest.
Enjoy the view from Empire Pass
Stop at Sundance Resort to ride the Zip line, go for a hike or attend a concert.