5 close-to-home road trips

5 close-to-home road trips

(Courtesy of Bryce Canyon National Park)

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SALT LAKE CITY — There's nothing like a classic road trip. The radio on, wind in your hair, frequent and infrequent pit-stops and sights to be seen. For many, life on the road, spanning thousands of miles is appealing, while for others, it is downright daunting.

So, what do you do if a trip to grandma’s just isn't cutting it and you want to experience a road trip, but aren’t quite ready to commit to spanning over multiple state lines? It’s simple: You stay local.

Buckle in as we list five close-to-home road trips, starting at the very top of the Utah.

Logan Canyon Scenic Byway =========================

This scenic drive starts in Logan where the US-91 and US-89 meet and travels along the Logan River. While on the road, you will pass many small lakes that used to be part of what was the ancient great Lake Bonneville.

There are many stops along the way, including hikes to see a 1,500-year-old Juniper tree and a grave for what is thought to be last grizzly bear to roam Utah.

The road will then take you to the summit of Bear Pass at 7,800 feet elevation. There, you will reach the Bear Lake Viewpoint, where you will look out to what is referred to as the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” named for its turquoise waters caused by limestone particles suspended in the lake.

Many roadtrippers continue on to Yellowstone National Park, but with all that there is to see and do along the Utah highway, you could easily be content to head back home.

Big Rock Candy Mountain =======================

This attraction is found on the border of Piute and Sevier County just north of Marysvale on Historic Highway 89. Named for the cluster of brightly colored hills, made by altered volcanic rock, this mountain resort is a popular stop for many looking for a quick road trip.


While the resort itself came well after the release of the 1928 song written by self-proclaimed hobo, Harry McClintock, and may not have "lemonade springs," it features a myriad of activities, including ziplining, rafting, mountain biking and ATV riding.

Capitol Reef National Park ==========================

Located off the scenic state Route 24, just 2.5 hours from Moab and just over 3.5 hours from Salt Lake City, Capitol Reef National Park has often been called the best kept secret in the National Park Service.

The park got its name in part from the great white rock formations resembling the U.S. Capitol building and from the sheer cliffs that presented a barrier to early travelers. However, it is the park’s multi-colored sandstone that earned it the nickname, “land of the sleeping rainbow,” by early settlers.

While there, visitors can see famous landmarks like the Capitol Dome, Chimney Rock, Hickman Bridge and The Fremont Petroglyphs. Early Mormon pioneers even left their mark in Capitol Reef, etching their names in sandstone at Pioneer Register to acknowledge their travels.

Bryce Canyon National Park ==========================

Located approximately four hours from Salt Lake City and just two hours from St. George, Bryce Canyon National Park is a short road trip away to visit one of the world’s most talked about locations.

Bryce Canyon is known for it’s majestic hoodoos, but is also home to many locally owned tourist attractions. You can go on a guided horseback or carriage ride, go for a hike on one of the many trails or even attend a rodeo featuring many of the local talent.

More than anything, the drive through Red Canyon and Escalante, will captivate you, even while in the confines of your minivan, and may even cause your teenagers to put down their iPods.

Toquerville Falls =================

Coined, “A swimming hole for the soul” by St. George News, Toquerville Falls is located about 8 miles off of I-15 on the outskirts of Zion National Park. This trip will take approximately four hours from Salt Lake City. However, where the freeway ends, is where the adventure drive begins, and you will find yourself in the backcountry of Zion National Park with a view of the fiery Kolob cathedrals.

On your way to the falls, you will follow a trail of small green trees and before you know it, you will be at a swimming hole, just in time to cool off from the heat of the Southern Utah sun. While there, you can also play in one of the many cascading falls the attraction is known for, then lay back, relax and dry off in the warm day sun.

When you’ve done all you can at your destination, climb back in your car, buckle up, roll your windows down and turn on your favorite tunes. After all, it wouldn’t be a road trip without the road and there's nothing quite like a road trip.

About the Author: Arianne Brown -------------------------------

Arianne is a mother to six young children. Her down time is spent running the mountain trails of the Wasatch Mountains and beyond. Contact her at ariannebrown1@gmail.com, follow her on Twitter @arimom6 or search her Facebook page, "A Mother's Write."

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