A One-And-A-Half-Story House Is Commonly Known As A Southwest Utah and Beyond

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Southwest Utah and Beyond

Southwest Utah is a pretty unique place to visit where the valley around Hurricane is just over 3,000 feet in elevation and a short drive up can reach over 10,000 feet. With the diversity of the landscape, almost every highway becomes a beautiful byway in all directions. All national parks and state parks that can be visited in three different states are within a short drive, as well as local national monuments and museums that tell the story of early settlement.

Utah 143 is listed as a National Scenic Byway, yet it’s only 55 miles long and resembles a high-elevation roller coaster, starting at 6,000 feet at the west end, rising to over 10,000 feet along the plateau, and returning to 6,500 feet. Eastern slope. This route was once a migration route used by Native American groups to leave their winter desert homes for summer hunting grounds high in the mountains. Along the trail is Brain Head Peak, the plateau’s highest point at 11,307 feet, which offers some spectacular skiing slopes. North views of the Cedar Monument’s colorful amphitheater are also along the route.

SR-14 connects US-89 to Cedar City along a 40-mile stretch known as Cedar Mountain. The byway passes through Dixie National Forest with groves of aspens and towering evergreens with abundant wildflowers, as well as lava rock. Crossing the southern side of the Markakunt Plateau with an elevation of 8,500 to 11,000 feet offers some spectacular views of Zion National Park and towering pine forests. Sitting at 9,200 feet is Navajo Lake, which overlooks the top, creating a perfect crystal blue body of water framed by aspen and pine. Another photographic lake is Aspen Mirror Lake, which is reached by a short drive down a dirt road about half a mile from the byway and a short hike through an aspen grove. The most popular spot along this route is Cascade Falls.

Reaching the waterfall is quite easy and somewhat difficult. The easy part comes from 3.5 miles of maintained unpaved road, yet very dusty. Traveling to the falls becomes a bit more difficult. The hike is only a mile and a half one-way with steep turns and descents, where the trail winds its way around the top of the steep hill; However, there are breath-taking views along the entire trail. The waterfall is fed from Navajo Lake through a crevice in the limestone bed and emerges through a small cave high on the cliff face. The overlook is just a few feet from the cave and offers a spectacular view of the falls 1000 feet down the mountain and through the forest to the Zion Narrows.

Connecting Utah 14 and Utah 143 is Highway 148 known as the Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway, which highlights the Dixie National Forest and Cedar Breaks National Monument for seven miles. At an elevation of more than 10,000 feet, the monument overlooks an amphitheater half a mile deep and three miles wide from rim to rim, where the walls have eroded into carved spirals of glistening multi-colored rock formations with orange, coral, rose, and white hues from the sun’s reflection. The amphitheater sits among wildflower meadows and sub-alpine forest with small stands of Bristol cone pine growing around the rim. Cedar Breaks National Monument is one of America’s special places where the steps at the top of the Grand Staircase crown and awe-inspiring views of the Great Basin Desert in the distance.

Between Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon is a 21-mile steep and windy scenic drive known as Kolob Terrace Road. The highway begins passing homes and farms in the small community of Virgin as it winds its way in and out of Zion National Park and ends at Lava Point, one of the highest elevations in Zion Park at 7,890 feet with views of the Cedar Breaks. , Pink Cliffs, and Zion Narrows.

Johnson Canyon Road begins just east of Kanab and travels 18 miles along the west side of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with wonderful views of the colorful cliffs of the Grand Staircase. Leave US-89 behind Canyon Road and pass ranch houses with horses grazing in fields with sandstone cliffs in the background before reaching the Old West set where the gun smoke was shot. The film set is on private land but there is a good view of the dilapidated buildings from the highway. Eight miles in, the visual stimulation kicks up a notch as the highway begins to climb steep white hills that stand out against the sage and juniper trees below. After 18 miles, one can take dirt Glendale Bench Road for 15-miles north on US-89 for quick access to Utah 9.

The northwestern section of Zion National Park known as Kolob Canyon is located at Exit 40 on Interstate 15, 40 miles north of Zion Canyon. The five-mile scenic drive allows access to one-way hiking trails and scenic views. This stretch of road passes through a narrow parallelogram of canyons on the western edge of the Colorado Plateau with majestic peaks and 2,000-foot cliff walls. At the end of the byway is the Timber Creek Overlook Trail. The trail is just over a mile round-trip with a 100-foot elevation change. The trail follows a small ridge that provides spectacular views of the Pine Valley Mountains, Kolob Terrace, and Kolob Canyon. At the end of the trail, looking south is MT. Trumbull on the North Rim of Grand Canyon-Parasahanta National Monument, about 100 miles away.

Utah State Route 9 begins at the Mount Carmel junction on US-89 and ends just east of St. George and is the gateway to Zion National Park’s east and west entrances, which showcase majestic mesas and towering sandstone cliffs. Entering the park from the east, the highway cuts through the checkerboard mesa area into towering mountains where colorful rock formations change at every corner and some are so close to the highway that you can reach out and almost touch them. The highway passes through the Pine Creek Canyon area and passes through a series of smaller tunnels before reaching the ever-so-impressive 5,631-foot tunnel that cuts through a towering red-stone cliff wall, where gallery-like windows provide a quick view of the outside throughout the tunnel. . After exiting the tunnel and driving the steep grade around the switchbacks, the pullout offers a majestic view of the towering mountains with side windows that will take your breath away. Beautiful trees line the highway as the byway descends to the desert floor of the canyon with the Virgin River running parallel to the byway.

A visit to Grand Canyon National Park would not be complete without seeing the North Rim. Not many people go to the North Rim, not because it’s hard to get to or in such a short season, it takes too long to get there. Once there, the views make the long drive worthwhile. Cape Royal Scenic Drive is more than 21-miles on a narrow twisting road through groves of aspen and ponderosa pines that climbs to the top of a mesa with several overlooks that provide a great view of the canyon. Cape Royal Point contains Angel’s Window, a natural arch that frames the Colorado River’s meandering in the Uncar Delta. A half mile hike takes a right above the arch. Taking the left fork off Cape Royal Roads leads to Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet, with views of the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon’s East Rim. Narrow walls clearly visible, appearing only as a swirling gash of Marble Canyon where it opens to a magnificent sight, the Grand Canyon. Right behind the visitor center is Bright Angle Point. A quarter mile of paved but steep and narrow trail leads to the tip of a mesa, where the views are breathtaking.

Looking for a little sightseeing outside of Utah, there are three Nevada state parks within 100 miles northwest of St. George that make for a nice round trip drive. Just outside of Panaca, Cathedral Gorge State Park is located in a long narrow valley where unique and dramatic patterns have eroded into the soft bentonite clay. Walkways allow one to get closer to the cathedral like the spire. Just a few miles north is a pullout with a canyon view that’s a photographer’s dream. Passing through Pioche, a small historic mining town worth spending a little time exploring before heading through some of Nevada’s back country to Spring Valley State Park, where the highway passes through a rolling canyon of beautiful pinks and light-grays. The 59-acre reservoir is known for excellent fishing and an array of waterfowl. The ride continues through some of Nevada’s historic ranches before reaching Echo Canyon State Park, known for its year-round activities for boating, fishing, swimming and camping in some of the best country in Eastern Nevada.

Just over 100-miles south of St. George, Nevada, bright red Aztec outcrops lie in gray and tan limestone at the ever-popular Valley of Fire State Park, which also displays ancient petrified trees and petroglyphs more than 2,000 years old. NV 169 is the main highway through the park with numerous pullouts with spectacular views of the eroded rocky landscape. However, the park is not just red rock outcrops, with six miles of White Domes Road featuring short hiking trails, narrow canyons, desert viewpoints, and a range of more colorful rocks in yellow, pink, gray, and bright colors. White, and orange.

It’s a short three-quarter mile hike over loose sand and rocks to reach Mouse Tank along the Petroglyph Trail, which has some amazing rock formations with petroglyphs carved into the rock walls along the way. As the road climbs to the small summit of Rainbow Vista, there is an amazing array of rocks with every color imaginable, and a mile of hiking trails lead deep into the colorful rock formations. Just past this vista is a small side road with a viewpoint of Silica Dome and a nice view of the red-sandstones of Fire Canyon. The 1.25-mile loop at the end of White Domes Road provides another excellent opportunity to explore an assortment of colorful rock formations along the White Domes Trail. This hiking trail is quite amazing, as it traverses beautiful sand, then descends steeply where it turns and winds through a very narrow canyon before turning and slowly making its way back to the top of the mountain.

Within the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve just northwest of St. George Utah lies the 7,400-acre Snow Canyon State Park surrounded by ancient lava flows and colorful Navajo sandstone cliffs all in a fragile desert setting that offers plenty of opportunities for anyone. Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Sitting at the intersection of the Colorado Plateau, Mojave Desert, and Great Basin Desert makes it home to a diversity of wildlife species and plants found nowhere else in Utah. Snow Canyon has evidenced a long history of human habitation, from the Anasazi Indians to the modern-day site for films such as Jeremiah Johnson, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Electric Horseman.

People are always interested in the foundations that made America what it is today, where every city and small town has its own story to tell. Frontier Homestead State Park does just that for Cedar City and the surrounding area. The museum features automobiles and printing presses from Ford’s early days and horse-drawn carriages from the early days of the railroad. The outdoor homestead section features some original log homes, a school, and a sheep shearing shed, along with an antique sawmill for a replica of a blast furnace for iron production. One of the two original giant cranes used to mine the ore from the ground sits beside the highway.

Founded in the mid-1850s and deserted by the Mormons in the mid-1950s, it is now just the ghost town of Grafton. Today there are only a few restored buildings still standing, a reminder of the settlement history of the area and the hard times they faced in the desert environment who relied on religious faith and each other to survive.

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