Patchwork Parkway Historic Scenic Drive

Pass by alpine meadows and lakes, breathtaking canyons and six different life zones rollercoastering over 4,500 feet of elevation change.

North of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, consider getting off Interstate 15 at Parowan to take State Highway 143 south. You'll pass by alpine meadows and lakes, breathtaking canyons and six different life zones rollercoastering over 4,500 feet of elevation change. If you drive over the summit by night, find a turnoff and kill your lights to experience nighttime skies that hearken back to a time before electricity. This undeveloped wilderness offers one of the darkest skies in the nation.

On Patchwork Parkway on the way up to Brian Head Ski Resort

On Patchwork Parkway on the way up to Brian Head Ski Resort

Called the Patchwork Parkway, it winds through Brian Head Ski Resort whose slopes rise to an elevation of 11,315-feet; touches the north side of Cedar Breaks National Monument and the Dixie National Forest and passes by highland wetlands and scenic Panguitch Lake. In June, wildflowers and wildlife fill the plateaus of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Take a break to hike a short trail or wander out to Alpine Pond.

Cedar Breaks National Monument. Photo by D Krause

Cedar Breaks National Monument. Photo by D Krause

Part of the Dixie National Forest, a 2-million acre preserve, you will see forests dominated by pine, spruce and fir interspersed with aspen. Currently a State Scenic Byway under nomination to become a national byway, the 51-mile drive soars over mountain and meadow landscapes that offer stunning autumn views when the aspen leaves turn the hills a bright yellow.

Old West town near Panguitch, Utah

Old West town near Panguitch, Utah

Anchored by two historic Mormon settlements, Parowan and Panguitch, take time for a quick cultural tour in either town to see homes and buildings from the 150-year old settlements still in use today. Panguitch Lake means "big fish" in Paiute and is still a favorite fishing hole. Stop in Panguitch, whose entire downtown is an historic monument. Note the number of brick homes.

Townspeople employed by the local brick factory were paid in brick, instead of currency. The Annual Quilt Walk Festival in June celebrates the "Panguitch Quilt Walk" by Mormon settlers during their first winter in Panguitch. When their crops failed due to freezing, a group of seven men "walked" the 40 miles to Parawan by laying quilts on top of the snow in order to get out to bring back food.

Butch Cassidy

Butch Cassidy

Butch Cassidy is a famous Panquitch resident. He is said that he and his mother last met at the Blue Pine Motel in Panguitch. The small log cabin where he grew up is located about 25 miles north on U.S. 89. An oral history of Cassidy was recorded by his friend Wallace Ott and can be heard at the Cannonville Visitor Center.

Turn south at Panguitch on Interstate 89 to connect with Hwy. 9 into Zion's eastern entrance. Parowan Gap and Vermillion Cliffs offer glimpses into our ancient cultural history. Throughout the area, Fremont and Paiutes pictographs and petroglyphs still are visible carved into or painted onto the bright red canyon walls.


Mt Carmel Highway in Zion

Zion Mt. Carmel Highway Scenic Drive

Hit the ten-mile stretch from the Zion entrance to Mt. Carmel, with switchbacks, slickrock and sweeping views with seasonal waterfalls.

Utah Highway 12 through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Scenic Utah Byway 12 from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef

Car and Driver rated it among ten most scenic highways, Forbes as one of America's best snowy drives, and Backpacker magazine as a favorite Wild Road.

Heading west on Highway 24 to Capitol Reef National Park

Hanksville, Utah to Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive

From Hanksville, a mining and ranching town, through the ghost town of Caineville, and on to Capitol Reef National Park, Hwy 24 will not disappoint.

Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park

2 Kolob Canyon Scenic Drives in Zion National Park

Stop by the Visitor Center before climbing 1,000 feet in the 5-miles to the Kolob Canyon Viewpoint. Or drive from Virgin, Utah all the way to the reservoir.

Hell's Backbone Bridge

Hell's Backbone Scenic Drive in Utah

Built to join Boulder, the last frontier town in Utah that still relied on mules to deliver the mail, with Escalante, famous for Hole-In-The-Rock Expedition.

Park Avenue rock formations in Arches National Park

5 Stops on Arches National Park's Scenic Drive

Don't miss these awe-inspiring sandstone formations in Arches National Park that can be seen after a short stroll from their parking areas.

A tunnel on the Mount Carmel Highway road in Zion National Park

Will You Fit Through the Mt. Carmel Tunnel in Zion National Park?

A 1.1 mile-long tunnel is credited with converting Zion from an isolated and rarely visited park, to one of the most popular national parks

The slot canyon known as "The Wave" in Coyote Buttes North.

Kanab's Fab Four Things to Do

Avoid the crowds, enjoy fantastic food and discover the hidden gems along the way to three of the Southwest’s most popular national parks.

Guided horseback trail rides near Bryce Canyon National Park with Ruby's Inn

Horseback, ATV, Bike Rentals and Scenic Flights Near Bryce Canyon

Ruby's Inn is a concessionaire for activities in and near Bryce Canyon National Park. Ride a horse, rent a bike, take an ATV tour, or go on a scenic flight in an airplane or helicopter.