by Matt, January 2022
I’m always looking for a great scenic drive. Like in the movie Cars, I’ll take the byway over the highway any day.
Here are some of my favorites!
Zion-Mt Carmel Scenic Drive (Highway 9), Zion National Park, Utah
Utah State Highway 9 begins in LaVerkin, Utah and ends in Mt Carmel, Utah. In the middle, it runs through gorgeous Zion National Park.
It took 4 years to survey the road, and another 3 to build it. It was completed with the financial support of the State of Utah and the National Park Service.
Its primary purpose? To connect Zion and Bryce National Parks, thereby facilitating more tourism. In fact, Bryce wasn’t set aside as a national park until the road was authorized.
Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive, Bryce National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon is one of the coolest places on earth! It’s famous for its hoodoo formations: rock pillars jutting out of the ground. It has the highest concentration of hoodoos on earth.
The scenic drive goes along the upper edge of the canyon and offers 7 scenic overlooks on the way.
Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Jenny Lake Scenic Drive is named after the most iconic lake in Grand Teton National Park.
The drive is mostly a one-way drive that offers views of the mighty Tetons, as well as lakeside views of Jenny Lake.
Custer State Park, South Dakota
The Black Hills of South Dakota are famous for Mount Rushmore, but it’s Custer State Park that steals the show!
Three of my all-time favorite drives are located here:
- The Needles
- Iron Mountain Highway
- Wildlife Loop
Watch this video to see all three in action!
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Unit, North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a lesser-visited national park, mainly because it’s just so far OUT THERE!
But just because it’s 4-5 hours north of the Black Hills, don’t let that keep you from visiting this gem of solitude, where Theodore Roosevelt found rejuvenation as a young man.
There are two main sections to the park: the South Unit and the North Unit. Each offers it’s own specialty.
Here’s the North Unit, with its Longhorn Cattle, Cannonballs, and Badlands:
Beartooth Highway, just outside of Yellowstone
Charles Kuralt said it was the best drive in America. This famous drive goes from Red Lodge, MT to the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone.
It is UNBELIEVABLE. See the video here.
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park
While not often thought of as a drive, the famous Lamar Valley has one road that goes through it. The most scenic thing about it? Wildlife such as bison, wolves, bears, and elk.
Check it out! See the video here.
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef actually has 4 incredibly scenic drives! Watch this video to see all of them.