5 Scenic Drives In Utah That Will Take Your Breath Away In 2024

Utah offers some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the United States.

And lucky for those who would prefer to view these landscapes from the comfort of their cars, Utah also offers a number of breathtaking scenic drives.

In this guide, we’ll show you 5 of the most scenic drives in Utah that reveal the state’s diverse beauty as they wind through towering red rock formations, lush alpine forests and majestic mountain ranges.

So buckle up and prepare for a beautiful ride.

Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway

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Guardsman Pass is a scenic mountain pass connecting Park City to Brighton and Midway. 

This route offers breathtaking views of the Wasatch Mountains, aspen forests, and lush meadows, especially vibrant in the fall. 

The pass is known for its dramatic landscapes, accessible via a winding road that climbs through the mountains. 

Highlights include panoramic views at the summit, photography opportunities, and access to hiking trails. 

The drive is particularly popular in autumn when the foliage turns a brilliant array of colors, but it’s also a serene winter route for snowshoers and cross-country skiers.

Scenic Byway 12 (Highway 12)

Credit: Erik Brunvard, Photographer

Scenic Byway 12, also known as “A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway,” traverses some of Utah’s most stunning landscapes over its 124-mile stretch. 

Connecting Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks, this route passes through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, offering views of diverse terrain from rugged deserts to dense pine forests. 

One of the most scenic but hair-raising parts of the drive is called the Hogback (pictured above) which follows the spine of a sloping ridge that separates Calf Creek Canyon between the towns of Escalante and Boulder.

Other highlights along the way include the breathtaking vistas of the Boulder Mountain, the narrow canyons of Calf Creek Falls, and the picturesque town of Escalante.

Zion Park Scenic Byway (State Route 9)

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The Zion Park Scenic Byway, or State Route 9, winds through Zion National Park, showcasing massive sandstone cliffs of vibrant reds, pinks, and creams. 

Stretching from the park’s entrance to Mount Carmel Junction, this drive offers a unique perspective of Zion’s natural beauty, including the famous Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. 

Highlights along this route include the opportunity for numerous scenic stops, such as the Court of the Patriarchs, and access to various hiking trails leading to panoramic views and hidden waterfalls. 

The byway is a gateway to exploring Zion’s incredible geological formations and diverse ecosystems.

Mirror Lake Scenic Byway (State Route 150)

Credit: Nathan Hanson, Photographer

The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, State Route 150, extends from Kamas, Utah, to the high Uinta Mountains, reaching the Wyoming border. 

This 42-mile drive ascends through dense forest areas, offering stunning views of rugged peaks and alpine lakes, including its namesake, Mirror Lake. 

A highlight of this drive is the plethora of outdoor activities available, such as fishing, hiking, and camping. 

The byway is especially beautiful in late spring and summer when wildflowers bloom, and in fall, when the aspen trees turn a vibrant yellow, creating a stunning contrast against the evergreens.

Nebo Loop Scenic Byway

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The Nebo Loop Scenic Byway is a 38-mile loop running through the Uinta National Forest, offering majestic views of Mount Nebo, the tallest peak in the Wasatch Range. 

This drive features a mix of dense alpine forests, open meadows, and rugged mountain vistas. 

Highlights along the Nebo Loop include Devil’s Kitchen, a unique red rock formation resembling a miniature Bryce Canyon, and numerous overlooks offering expansive views of Utah Valley and the surrounding mountains. 

The byway is particularly stunning in the fall when the leaves change colors, creating a picturesque landscape that attracts photographers and nature lovers alike.