Utah is a stunningly beautiful state, with miles of breathtaking landscapes to explore. Here’s a list of the scenic drives in Utah National Parks to enjoy each park’s unique and stunning views!
Utah’s National Parks offer some of the best scenic drives in America. All five parks have a road to explore the various points of interest with things to see, do and photograph at each stop.
One of the best ways to experience the National Parks in Utah is exploring the scenic drive in each park. We share information and tips about all the scenic drives in the five parks!
Be sure to reference our packing list for Utah National Parks so you know what to pack for your vacation. Get the free printable by clicking the graphic below!
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A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks
Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Tips for Driving in Utah National Parks
Some of the busiest months to visit Utah National Parks are during the spring, summer, and fall. Be prepared for busy roads and lines at the park entrance gates.
Some of the Utah parks require an entry ticket or use of the shuttle to access roads during these busy seasons. That information will be provided below for each park.
When visiting Utah National Parks in the winter you’ll need to pay attention to the weather and road conditions. Some of the scenic drives will close for a few hours for snow removal after a storm. And other roads may close completely for days due to winter conditions.
Have you heard about the Utah National Parks GuideAlong App? It’s a great way to have your own private guide to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.
Utah NP Mighty 5 AUDIO TOUR
“It’s just like having a tour guide along for the ride. You’ll hear stories, local tips & navigation play automatically, all based on your location. Best of all it doesn’t need cell signal, the tour works offline with GPS.”
Scenic Drives in Utah National Parks
Here are some fantastic stops along the scenic drives in Utah National Parks, plus tips to make your visit unforgettable!
We also share a few Utah scenic drives near the National Parks to add to your list!
Scenic Drive at Arches National Park
The full 43-mile Arches National Park Scenic Drive, including the spur roads, takes 2 to 3 hours. Add more time if you plan to walk around and take Arches National Park photos or do any hiking at any of the stops.
The road is paved and offers Arches National Park photography spots from the pullouts along the road or in the parking lots. Some of the arches and landmarks can be reached by a short walk from the parking lot.
From April through October you’ll need to reserve a Timed Entry Ticket for Arches National Park to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
You CAN visit Arches without a ticket as long as you enter the park before 6 a.m or after 5 p.m. That’s the best time of day for Arches National Park photography anyway.
Check out the Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway that’s accessed just outside Moab near the Arches National Park entrance. With the right vehicle, you can drive from this road to Canyonlands!
Scenic Drive at Canyonlands National Park
Stunning views is what you’ll find along the Canyonlands Island in the Sky Scenic Drive. There are 10 overlooks and viewpoints to enjoy, and photograph, the landscape at this park!
Driving through Needles Canyonlands the views will be much different. Be sure to stop at all pullouts to enjoy the diverse beauty of the stone spires in this part of the park.
There are also two scenic drives near Needles Canyonlands we recommend:
Scenic Drive at Bryce Canyon National Park
Enjoy views of hoodoos, arches and windows at various viewpoints and overlooks along the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive.
We always recommend the first thing you do when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park is to drive to the end of the road at Rainbow Point then work your way back to the amphitheater.
Driving through Bryce Canyon will take you approximately three hours if you do the full scenic drive and take your time at each stop. The Bryce Canyon scenic drive includes 13 viewpoints along the 38-mile roundtrip adventure.
From April through mid-October the Bryce Canyon Shuttle provides transportation to the popular overlooks in the Bryce Amphitheater. The shuttle is not required, but it’s convenient and helps reduce congestion at the overlook parking lots.
There is no shuttle for the full scenic drive from Rainbow Point.
Check out the Best Stops Along Scenic Byway 12 if you plan to drive from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef!
Scenic Drive at Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef Scenic Drive is 7.9 miles long. The paved road is suitable for passenger vehicles. Since it’s not a loop road, you’ll drive back the way you came.
There are two dirt spur roads off the scenic drive: Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge. Passenger cars and RVs up to 27 feet in length are fine to drive the road.
The Scenic Drive, Grand Wash, and Capitol Gorge roads can become impassable or closed due to snow, ice, mud, and flash floods. We recommend you check with the Rangers before driving those roads!
You’ll also find the Pleasant Creek Road begins near the Capitol Gorge parking lot. It’s an unpaved road that’s usually passable to 2WD vehicles. It follows along the west-facing cliffs for 2.8 miles before ending at Pleasant Creek.
There are remnant buildings and fences of a ranch before the end of the road. Near the creek there’s a pit toilet. Turn around and head back the way you came.
4WD ROAD: Anyone with a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle can cross the creek and travel the rough and tedious South Draw Road that connects with Highway 12.
Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley Loop is a 58-mile scenic drive that’s located in a rugged and remote area of the park. You’ll see sandstone monoliths, vibrant Bentonite hills, and expansive desert vistas. This hidden gem appeals to those who appreciate solitude and backcountry exploration.
The loop consists of two primary roads: Hartnet Road and Cathedral Road. Starting from Highway 24, you will drive northwest on Hartnet Road, through Cathedral Valley, then return to Highway 24 via Cathedral Road. You will drive a short stretch of Highway 24 to complete the loop.
Driving the entire loop without additional stops or hikes takes 6 to 8 hours to complete. For exploring detours, visiting overlooks, or embarking on short hikes, you must allocate one full day to enjoy the whole Cathedral Valley Loop experience.
Scenic Drive at Zion National Park
There are four Zion National Park Scenic Drives:
Zion Canyon: Most of the year, the only way to access Zion Canyon is using the Zion National Park Shuttle. Take your time to enjoy the points of interest at each shuttle stop as you visit the Zion Canyon scenic drive.
We recommend exploring one of the Zion National Park hikes in this canyon. You’ll find the famous Zion Narrows and Angel’s Landing here.
Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway: This scenic road includes driving through the 1.1 mile long tunnel! This section of road through Zion National Park never closes, and you can drive your personal vehicle. There’s no shuttle bus along this route.
Note that large campers, RVs and buses must have an escort and requires a Zion Mt. Carmel permit to drive through the tunnel.
Along the 10 mile scenic drive you’ll encounter two tunnels, switchbacks, slickrock and fantastic views. Use the pullouts to stop and take photos, take a hike, and look for big horn sheep!
Kolob Terrace: We recommend this lesser-known Zion scenic drive found west of Springdale near the town of Virgin. You’ll see a different side of Zion there, AND you can escape the crowds!
Kolob Terrace is a high plateau area towering above an open desert with amazing views of the colorful rocks famous at Zion.
The road is open all year, but if you’re visiting Zion National Park in the winter, be prepared for unpredictable weather in this area. Access to the upper part of the Kolob Terrace Road, including Lava Point, closes in the winter. Driving conditions can be very poor during a storm, but roads are usually plowed quickly after.
Kolob Canyons: This scenic drive is 40 miles north of Zion Canyon. It’s a bit out of the way, but provides a whole different view of Zion.
The Kolob Canyons road is a five-mile drive that accesses the northwest corner of the park.
If you’re looking for Zion hikes without the shuttle, then this is the place to explore! There are three hiking trails: Timber Creek Overlook, Taylor Creek and La Verkin Creek.
Keep in mind that access to Kolob Canyons regularly closes in inclement weather. Driving conditions can be very poor during a storm, but roads are usually plowed quickly after.
Travel Guides for Utah National Parks
Check out our Utah National Park travel guides that detail the best things to see, do and photograph at all 5 parks!