15 Of The Best Views In Utah: Scenery That Will Blow Your Mind (That You Won’t Find On Any Other List!)

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This is a post I’ve wanted to write forever but could never decide how I wanted to do it, what I wanted to include, and I definitely had to see more stuff.

Finally I settled on the best views in Utah that are mostly not in the national parks. Some of them are grand views from overlooks while others are wonderful Utah scenery along scenic drives. Most are overlooks though.

Some involve hiking to get to, others are pulloffs on main roads. Some are paved while others are dirt and may require 4WD. My main goal was to try include as much as I could that wasn’t on any other list you see, which is usually a lot more general (like just listing all 5 national parks and the same few other spots.)

Instead of general places, too, it will be specific hikes in the parks, not just the park (because obviously they’re great.)

These are all places I’ve been to myself and things I love recommending to people when they ask where they can’t miss on a Utah road trip. I’ll update this as I see more stuff. I just wanted to include things I’ve been to for now.

So, if you’re looking for the best views in Utah that aren’t in the national parks (mostly), aren’t on any other list, and a little lesser known, look no further!

Tips for traveling in Utah

  • Get gas all the time. It can be far and few between so make sure to fill up when you can. Usually 3/4 of a tank is ok, but under that, it doesn’t hurt to top it off.
  • If you’re going hiking make sure to let someone know where you’re going and pick a time to check in with them by, even if they’re at home. If you don’t check in with them then at least someone knows where you are even if they’re not close they can let someone where you are know.
  • Have extra water in the car and stay hydrated on the trail! Drink more water than you think you should. Extra snacks would be good, too.
  • Bring up any directions on your phone before leaving towns and screenshot the directions just in case you lose phone service (likely) and they get turned off or something.
  • You will most likely not have service if you’re not in a town and definitely won’t have it on most hikes. You can download trail maps with AllTrails (only with pro, I think).
  • If you’re on a scenic drive and want to take your time, do that, but if someone faster comes up behind you, pull over and let them pass. Most roads have a million places to stop and not everyone driving these is doing so for the first time (i.e. not doing the drive for fun but to get somewhere). It’s the worst getting stuck behind someone slow that just won’t pull over. A lot of these roads don’t have good places for passing so please just pull over if someone faster is behind you. Don’t drive recklessly though (that means too fast or too slow.)
Highway 95 Utah

What to bring on a Utah road trip

NatGeo National Parks Book – This is one of the best national park guidebooks and I take it on all my park trips.  Plus, it’s got the nice glossy pages.  Buy the book here.

Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side.  They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.

Snacks – These are more important for long hikes, but you never know when you’ll get hungry!  I like EPIC bars (kind of like beef jerky but different), Sahale nut mix things, and Moon Cheese.  There’s always the good old Clif Bars and trail mix, too.

Water bottle – It’ll be hot and humid and you’ll need to stay hydrated.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen.  I like the Neutrogena a lot, but if you’ll be visiting a beach soon, you’ll want a reef-safe sunscreen.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.  A baseball hat should be fine but a bucket hat or sun hat could help keep the sun off your neck.

Sunglasses – This is a must, especially with the strong desert sun.  Sunglasses are best paired with a hat on those really bright days.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly depending on where you are and if you’ll be in any slot canyons, they can get cool depending on the time of day and season.  I usually use my rain jacket for this.

Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking.  This isn’t the exact one I have, but it’s similar and if I needed to replace mine, I’d probably get this one.

What to bring camping in Utah

Tent – I love the REI Passage 2 tent for one or two people.  It’s small and fairly light.  If you need a four-person tent, I’d go with this one, the REI Half DomeYou can check out my tent here.

Sleeping pad – Gotta make the tent comfy!  The one I have isn’t available anymore but this one is similar.  It’s self-inflating and just needs a little help filling all the way.  Buy the sleeping pad here.

Sleeping Bag – I have the Nemo Viola 35 and love it because it’s not as restrictive as the mummy bags.  It has ventilation slits for those warmer nights.  Check out my sleeping bag here.

Puffy quilt – If you’re a really warm sleeper and visiting in the summer, a puffy quilt might be a better option.  I prefer this for hotter nights.  Check out the Rumpl camp quilts here.

Pillow – If you’re just driving, I’d just bring a regular pillow, but if you’re flying then renting a car, you might want a smaller pillow.  This is a good non-inflatible option.  Here is a good inflatable option.

Camp chairs – If you plan on doing a lot of camping outside of this trip, and backpacking especially, the REI Flexlite chairs are great choices.  Check out the camp chairs here.

Lantern – I love having a lantern for in the tent at night, reading in the dark, or going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  The LuminAID is my favorite and you can charge your phone on it.  Buy the LuminAID lantern here.

Dramamine – this is a must if you get carsick. Buy a three pack here.

Burr Trail Switchbacks
Thanks father!

Burr Trail Switchbacks

The switchbacks on Burr Trail are one of the highlights of the drive. Everyone says the Moki Dugway is scary (I think it’s fine) but this is much worse, to me. The Strike Valley Overlook and Upper Muley Twist are nearby and offer additionally wonderful views.

Where is it

The Burr Trail Switchbacks are actually technically in Capitol Reef National Park. They’re right at the for for Notom-Bullfrog road and Burr Trail. If you’re coming from Bullfrog, it’s a left at the fork, not straight. You’ll be looking right at a cliff wondering how you get up there and it’s the switchbacks!

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Well, just look at it! You get to see not only the water pocket fold, but the Henry Mountains, too! This view is particularly nice when there is snow on the mountains (winter and spring). Plus, it’s an adventure to go up/down them.

Can any car get there?

Yes! Well, not RVs and trailers but any car can. The road is dirt but it’s mostly washboardy. The switchbacks themselves are pretty rough so make sure you take them slow and drive carefully.

Burr Trail (the Bullfrog end)

While the whole of Burr Trail is amazing, the Bullfrog end is where you find the best views. Highway 276 and really anywhere on Lake Powell are also going to offer amazing Utah scenery if you want to spend more time in the area.

Where is it

The section I’m mostly referring to here is the part up to the T (coming from Bullfrog) or where you would turn right coming from the switchbacks. Right by the T is the Halls Creek Overlook which is amazing and closer to Bullfrog but before the smaller switchbacks are most amazing views.

There are pulloffs along the way so you can stop and enjoy the views. There are also tons of dirt roads so if you have a capable vehicle (sometimes high-clearance 4WD) you can explore those, too. AND you can just park and hike wherever, just make sure to be aware of your surroundings and know how to get back to your car.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

You can see the Henry Mountains, Lake Powell, massive canyons and the water pocket fold all from one spot (multiple spots, really). On really clear days (mostly with binoculars) you can even see Bears Ears!

Can any car get there?

Yup! If you’re coming from Bullfrog or Fruita in Capitol Reef any car can get there. If you’re coming from Boulder, RVs and trailers won’t be able to because of the switchbacks.

Scenic Byway 12

Scenic Byway 12 is prime Utah scenery. It’s probably the top drive in the state (or very close to it) and has everything. It’s the best of both worlds taking you up into the mountains and back into the desert. And yes, it’s just the whole road because there are tons of amazing views along the way.

Where is it

Scenic Byway 12 connects the town of Torrey to the town of Panguitch near Bryce Canyon. It passes through Boulder, Escalante, and a few other small towns. There are tons of things to do along the way.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Just look at those views! While this isn’t my favorite drive in Utah (Burr Trail takes that crown) this is a must-do, especially for first-time visitors. When you’re driving through the mountains there are stellar views of the desert below, lakes in the mountains, and more desert.

Once you’re down into Grand Staircase Escalante there are even more opportunities to stop and enjoy the views between hikes like Lower Calf Creek Falls or 100 Hands Pictograph.

Can any car get there?

Yup! It’s all paved. It can be wind-y but it’s not bad. RVs and trailers are on here all the time, just be careful if you’re not used to driving a giant RV or something.

Hells backbone drive Boulder Utah

Hell’s Backbone Bridge

The whole road is pretty cool and a cool thing to do if you have an extra day in Escalante or Boulder. I wouldn’t do it if you only have one day, but it’s worth doing if you have time. It takes you over Boulder Mountain with amazing desert views on the way up and down either side.

Where is it

Hell’s Backbone Bridge is about ten miles (give or take a little) down Hell’s Backbone road if you’re coming from Boulder. If you’re doing the drive from Escalante, it will be 28ish miles in.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

From the bridge you have views of these rock pinnacles and drops of over 500 feet on both sides! While the views are best from the bridge (there is a parking area on one side of the bridge) there are some amazing ones on the Escalante end of the road, too.

Can any car get there?

Yes! If you’re doing the whole road, 4WD might be a good idea but none of it was really terrible. I would be careful up here if it has recently rained though no matter what kind of car you have.

canyonlands island in the sky moab utah

Island in the Sky

I know I said I wouldn’t just put a whole national park on here, and technically this isn’t because it’s just one section of the park, but Island in the Sky in Canyonlands has some of the best views in Utah, for sure. There are too many places in it to just pick one so I picked the whole district.

Some other amazing Utah scenery in the area is Dead Horse Point State Park which you pass on the drive up. The overlook for Monitor and Merrimack Buttes is also great and on the drive up.

Where is it

The visitor center is about 30 miles from Moab. The road continues 12 more miles in the park with one or two other connecting roads to explore.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Well, it’s called Island in the Sky for a reason. Almost every stop has astonishing views for you to enjoy. Mesa Arch is probably one of the most iconic views in Utah and people flock there for sunrise. Consider seeing it at sunset to avoid the crowds.

Green River Overlook, Murphy Point, Grand View Point, Shafer Canyon Overlook, and Buck Canyon Overlook are all amazing views of some of the best Utah scenery out there.

Can any car get there?

Yup! The whole thing is paved. If you plan to drive White Rim Road/Shafer Canyon Road you will need high-clearance 4WD.

Fisher Towers area

This is a popular-ish hiking area in Moab (not as popular as the parks) with a 4.5-5.6 mile round-trip hike (distances were mixed) to the base of the towers. Along the way you can admire Castle Rock, too.

Where is it

About 25 miles from Moab on Highway 128, right along the Colorado River. There are plenty of great views and pulloffs along the road to stop and enjoy the towers, the La Sal Mountains, and other scenery.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Not only do you get to see the impressive Fisher Towers, but you can see those, the La Sal Mountains, AND the Colorado River all at once from the right spot.

Can any car get there?

Yup! This is a nice paved road winding along the river. No hike is required to the view, but you can hike the trail to get closer to them.

North Fruita Overlook

This is probably my favorite hike in Capitol Reef and I say that about every hike I do there, but this one is actually it. The Cohab Canyon trail takes you up to the North Fruita Overlook and it’s worth all the effort.

An alternate amazing view in the area is the Hickman Bridge trail! The bridge itself is really cool, but the view from the loop part of the trail just before/after (depending on direction) the bridge is amazing, too. The Goosenecks Overlook, Panorama Point, and Sunset Point are also wonderful overlooks.

Where is it

In the Fruita district of Capitol Reef. The trailhead is right across from the Gifford Store. The view is at the top of the giant cliff you’ll be at the bottom of.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

You get to overlook pretty much all of the Fruita district, the Hickman Bridge Trail, the park road, the campground, and all of the amazing desert below. Plus, it feels like a totally different world up here than the park below. We saw no one else up here and got to enjoy plenty of cactus blooms having them all to ourselves.

Can any car get there?

Yup! It’s all a paved road, but you do have to hike up to the view.

Orange Cliffs

The Maze district of Canyonlands is a mystery to most people. I still really haven’t been there other than to this spot, but I loved it and it definitely made me want to go see it again and really go into it. This is just the start but only if you have the right car.

The drive out here takes you through Robbers Roost and has some really nice views of the area. They’re mostly flat views, not big canyons like this, but it was a surprising drive, in a good way.

Where is it

Just before the Hans Flat Ranger Station in the Maze district of Canyonlands. It’s an hour and forty minutes from Hanksville and a little over two hours from Green River.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Because it’s hard to get to meaning you’ll probably see no one out there other than rangers. You also get to see a part of Canyonlands very few people visit. It may not look that impressive in this photo, but I promise, it is.

Can any car get there?

Nope. While most cars could actually get pretty close, they won’t be able to make it the whole way. We saw a Prius pretty far along the way but shortly after the road got fairly sandy. You would need 4WD at the least to get all the way to the Orange Cliffs at Hans Flat Ranger Station.

White Canyon

White Canyon still amazes me to this day and I’ve spent a lot of time driving by it. It’s one of the first places I saw when I moved to Bullfrog in 2016 and I still love it. It’s a wonderful place to hang out and watch the sunset or even do some camping.

You can hike around the top of it or into it if you’re comfortable with that. The Black Hole is a hike into the bottom of it but involves some climbing skill and long, cold swims. It’s a fun one to read about but not one I’m dying to do myself.

If you want a more mild adventure near White Canyon, there are tons of Geocaches along the highway of varying difficulties.

Where is it

White Canyon runs along Highway 95, the drive from Blanding to North Lake Powell (almost to Hanksville). Natural Bridges National Monument is at the junction of White Canyon and Armstrong Canyon making it a good way to experience part of the canyon in a park. The rest is not in a park.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

It’s an unassuming canyon along the side of the road that looks small in some spots but is shockingly impressive in others! It stretches almost from the Hite Overlook to the Fry Canyon Lodge (not open anymore) and has plenty of opportunities to stop and see it.

You can admire Jacobs Chair and Cheese Box Butte as well as plenty of other mesas along the way.

Can any car get there?

Yup! This is just a pulloff along Highway 95 near the turnoff for Hite. There are plenty of these along the road to see different parts of the canyon. If you want to drive down any of the dirt roads you may need a high-clearance 4WD.

Moki Dugway

This was one of those things I just kept hearing about in Bullfrog and how scary it was. I don’t think I drove it until 2017 but it wasn’t as scary as everyone made it sound and now I always take it if I’m going that way.

If you’re visiting Valley of the Gods or Goosenecks State Park, you’ll either start or end right at the bottom of the switchbacks. It’s a must-do between Monument Valley and Capitol Reef/Lake Powell, unless you are coming from Blanding, then it’s a little out of the way. But definitely take this if you can.

Where is it

It’s actually part of Highway 261. If you take this highway, you take the Dugway. The only way to go around it is by taking 95 all the way to 191 by Blanding.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

You have a sprawling view of the Valley below and get to enjoy it the whole way down the switchbacks. There are pullouts on some of thee corners higher up so you can stop to enjoy the view even more.

Can any car get there?

Yup! It is dirt but any can will be fine on here as long as you’re comfortable driving it. I know semi trucks drive this. It looks scarier than it is. Unlike the Burr Trail switchbacks, it’s a flat dirt, not washboardy and rough. The rest of 261 is paved, but the Dugway is dirt.

Hite Overlook

Every time we drive past this (a lot) I say we have to stop at the scenic overlook! or something like that. But we really only have like, twice. But both times it’s been wonderful and it’s the perfect stop to enjoy that Utah scenery and stretch your legs on a long drive.

Where is it

It’s about 45 minutes from Hanksville and an hour and forty minutes from Blanding along the side of Highway 95. There are signs for it so it’s pretty hard to miss.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

You get to see Hite Marina, the bridge over the Colorado River, the Colorado River, Lake Powell, AND the red Mesas in the distance all from one spot. This is a really cool spot to stop and see the water levels changing on the river/lake if you drive through here often.

Can any car get there?

Yup! It’s right on the side of a popular paved scenic drive. There is plenty of parking, too.

Elk Ridge

Basically the whole drive between Bears Ears and the Abajo Mountains by Blanding is amazing, but this section was what I decided to go with.

Hammond Canyon Overlook and Arch Canyon Overlook are two great stops along the rest of the drive but there are tons of great spots to pull over and enjoy that Utah mountain scenery.

Where is it

This one is hard to explain because it’s up in the mountains. Here is South Elk Ridge on Google Maps, but really, the whole area has stunning views.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

You’re in the mountains and get to enjoy that, but you also get to admire the views of the red and white rock of the desert that you just came from. Plus, it’s pretty isolated so you won’t be fighting any crowds here.

Can any car get there?

Nope. I would recommend high-clearance 4WD because you never know what the roads up here will be like. They are all dirt and some are better than others but can vary a lot.

This whole area is very remote so tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Pick up a map of the area at the Monticello BLM field office to help navigate the area because you won’t have service most of the time. There is spotty service in some spots, but don’t plan for it.

There are BLM road number signs up here for the most part, and some for towns, but if you don’t feel comfortable navigating without GPS, pleeease don’t try and drive around up here.

Muley Point Overlook

The guidebook my parents have said this should be the next Utah national park. Or maybe it was that all of southern Utah should be a national park. Either way, this is included in that and a must-see view in Utah.

Where is it

This is a hidden gem in San Juan County and you can get to it from the top of the Moki Dugway! The turnoff for Muley Point is right where the pavement ends/starts before going down the Dugway.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Not only is it 1,000 feet from where you are to the canyon below, but another 1,000 to the San Juan River below that! You can see Monument Valley in the distance and tons of other stuff. It almost reminds me of a smaller Grand Canyon.

Can any car get there?

Most likely not. The road is dirt/loose sand so some parts would be pretty sketchy in a regular car. The Utah tourism website says most passenger cars can do it, but I would be careful with it.

Wildcat Canyon

This was a pleasant surprise, as was all of Kolob Terrace Road, in Zion. I don’t know what I was expecting at the end of the road, but this is what we got after a short hike on the Wildcat Canyon Trail.

Where is it

At the end of Kolob Terrace Road in Zion National Park. Some walking is involved to get to this view, but as you can see, it’s worth it. And it’s easy walking. The trail does keep going but we turned around here.

This was from the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and Kolob Terrace Road is outside of Springdale. Coming from the park, it will be a right turn, from St. George it will be a left. It is marked but can be easy to miss so keep an eye out for it.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Instead of being in Zion you’re on top of it! This is a part of the park that gets a lot less visitors than the main canyon (like, a lot less) so you won’t bee fighting those Angels Landing crowds here.

Can any car get there?

Yup! This is at the end of a paved road. You just have to walk a bit on the trail (I think less than a mile)

Canyon Overlook Trail

While everyone knows about Angels Landing (I still haven’t done it) there is another hike in Zion with similarly stunning views that is a lot less terrifying: Canyon Overlook Trail.

While I’d argue Observation Point (haven’t done that yet either) seems to be the best view in Zion, Canyon Overlook is a great shorter and easier alternative.

Where is it

Just after the big tunnel (on the east side of the park, so after the tunnel coming from the visitor center) on the Mount Carmel Highway. There is a small parking lot right after the tunnel on the right (left coming from the east entrance) but you’ll most likely see cars parked in pulloffs nearby, too. You’ll probably have to park there because the small lot is almost always full.

Why is it one of the best views in Utah

Like I’ve said about at least two places in here already, just look at it! I think it’s similar to the Angels Landing view, just a different part of the park. You might even be able to spot some Bighorn Sheep from here which is always exciting.

Can any car get there?

Yup! It’s along the main road through the park.

What do you think is the best view in Utah? Have you been to any of these?

One thought on “15 Of The Best Views In Utah: Scenery That Will Blow Your Mind (That You Won’t Find On Any Other List!)

  1. Great List. Concise and good basic information given. Valley of Fire beneath the Moki Dugway is beautiful in early morning and evening light.

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