3 Must-Do Fall Scenic Drives in Southern Utah

by Jeff Watson - Posted 1 month ago

As cooler temperatures creep in, Southern Utah’s fall foliage begins to make it's dramatic entrance. The vibrant reds, oranges and yellows matched against the striking mountain vistas and red rock formations provides a breathtaking visual. 


Here’s our top picks for the best roads to take in the scenery this fall.


1. Iron County Loop (Parowan, UT to Cedar City, UT)

(Photo by Chon Kit Leong)

Drive time: 2 hours


Directions: Follow S.R. 143 through Parowan Canyon to Brian Head Resort. Take a right down S.R. 148 to Cedar Breaks National Monument. After taking in the scenery, continue down S.R. 148, making a right at S.R. 14 which will take you into Cedar City and back to I-15.


Beginning in Parowan, this high elevation loop weaves through historic towns and geological formations as you take in the vibrant yellow and fiery red aspens.


After ascending through Sidney Valley, take the turn south onto Highway 148. This road will take you to the red rock amphitheater of Cedar Breaks National Monument, which features dazzling red rock spires and formations.


There’s plenty of turn offs & trails on this loop to stop at to peep the trees and breathe in the crisp mountain air.


2. Zion National Park (Springdale, UT)


Drive time: 1 hour


Directions: Take S.R. 9 from I-15 all the way to Zion’s entrance, driving through the park until you reach Mt Carmel Junction. At this point, turn around and follow the same route back.


If you ask the locals, some say Fall is the best time to visit Zion National Park. The temperatures are more mild, the crowds are fewer, and the stunning mountains are highlighted with vibrant changing vegetation.


There's no better time to enjoy one of the most picturesque National Parks than this fall. *Note: There is a fee to enter/drive through the park.



3. Highway 12 Scenic Byway


Drive time: 3 hours


Directions: Starts on US 89 and ends in Torrey, UT.


Have a free day or two and up for a scenic drive? This is the trip for you! Enter the heart of one of possibly the most scenic areas of Southern Utah and see why they call it the Wild Wild West.


Highway 12 Scenic Byway runs 124 miles, weaving through Bryce Canyon National Park and Kodachrome Basin State Park. Take in the breathtaking and rugged landscape as you wind your way along the northern boundary of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument before ending on the west side of Capitol Reef National Park.