Most scenic route from Zion to Bryce

This road trip will get you through some of the unique scenery the United States has to offer, and it will be one you will remember for the rest of your life. You have complete control over making this road trip your own. Utah has five national parks, and Bryce Canyon and Zion are barely 100 miles apart. That means they’re easy to combine into one long weekend, and many people leave one park and immediately head to the other to pitch up a tent. 

The Zion National Park route would be the most scenic way from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon. Once you reach St. George while traveling north from Las Vegas, follow Highway 9 east just north of St. George. Highway 9 will take you from Hurricane Utah to Springdale. You may spend five days driving and stopping at various points. The most scenic drives are along this road and are all present here.

 Highlights

  • Stagecoach Trail
  • South Platte Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
  • Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway
  • Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway
  • Mount Evans Scenic Byway
  • Colorado National Monument
  • Castle Valley Road
  • Fishlake Scenic Byway

Day 1

471 mi — about 8 hours, 11 mins

Zion, IL to Stagecoach Trail

Drive towards Stagecoach Trail from Zion. This scenic trip connects Galena and Lena along the Stagecoach Trail, built in the mid-1830s to connect Galena and Chicago. Today, motorcyclists particularly like the gently winding and uphill two-lane road, which goes through attractive, ancient towns and idyllic dairy country. The route is only 2.5 hours from Chicago and only a hop, skip, and a jump from Dubuque, making it an ideal day trip or weekend escape.

The Old Stagecoach Trail passes through Scales Mound, a small village with most of its buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Charles Mound is just north of here. It is the highest peak in Illinois, standing at 1,235 feet. It is on private property and is only open to the public on the first weekend of June, July, August, and September.

Relive the stagecoach era with a trip on a reproduction Concord Stagecoach drawn by Belgian draft horses at Stagecoach Trails Livery. The route leads to Apple River. We propose taking a detour to Apple Canyon State Park by turning right on Canyon Park Rd. Discover fantastic limestone buffs created by Apple River at Apple River Canyon State Park. Because of the lack of glacial periods, this terrain is rough. Glaciers skipped this region, known as the Driftless Area while flattening other portions of the state. The canyon has sides covered in mosses and ferns. Ravines and streams attract wildlife and provide opportunities for birdwatching and fishing for smallmouth bass, crappie, and carp. Make a stop in Minden, Iowa, to round out your first day.

Day 2

511 mi — about 7 hours, 53 mins

Stagecoach Trail to South Platte Trail Scenic and Historic Byway

Discover a Pony Express Trail memorial beginning at the Colorado Welcome Center in Julesburg, along with regional information, petrol, RV parking, and a picnic area. This 19-mile loop along the Nebraska border follows the South Platte River from Julesburg to Ovid and back. This ancient path was well-traveled by traders, gold seekers, and fur trappers seeking their fortunes in the west. Julesburg was the lone Pony Express home station in Colorado Territory in 1860.

The tale of Julesburg, Native American Indians, buffalo, and life in the Wild West is through display panels. Julesburg State Wildlife Area offers hunting opportunities nearby. Take a short detour from the byway to Jumbo Reservoir/Julesburg Reservoir via CO-385. Anglers fishing for walleye, crappie, and bluegill go to the reservoir, as do those who like swimming, boating, hiking, and camping. Discover shorebirds, hawks, bald eagles, owls, and many more species during spring and fall migrations.

South Platte Trail Scenic and Historic Byway to Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway

Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway is still on day 2. Colorado is famed for its 14-ers, with 54 mountains rising beyond 14,000 feet, which is why this byway is so unique. Explore a stunningly unusual scene, one of the country’s last remaining short grass plains. The vast expanses appear barren at first glance but are full of species such as coyotes, mule deer, prairie dogs, and raptors. 

A diverse range of textures comes from over 400 plant species, including cottonwood trees, prickly-pear cactus, soaptree yuccas, and wildflowers. This region, rich in history, was home to American Indians and the homesteaders, ranchers, and frontiersmen who came after, facing hardships owing to weather, the dust bowl, and isolation. Stop at New Raymer, CO, after such a long journey.

Day 3

418 mi — about 8 hours

Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway to Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway

On day three, travel to the Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway. The Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway run from Golden, in the foothills of the Rockies, past the friendly historic communities of Evergreen and Morrison. Enjoy breathtaking mountain vistas, as well as plenty of possibilities for outdoor activity and downtime. The MillerCoors Brewery, The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Windy Saddle Park, O’Fallon Park, Corwina Park, and Lair O’ the Bear Park are all along the way. This 40-mile drive from downtown Denver takes only 20 minutes, making it an ideal day vacation or weekend retreat.

Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway to Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans Scenic Byway is still on day three. Here is the drive for you if you prefer your roads squiggly and cliff-hugging with spectacular vistas of mountains, alpine meadows and lakes, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The full paved road in North America climbs more than 7,000 feet in just 27 miles, with breathtaking views around every bend. Furthermore, there is no easier way to summit a 14er. This beautiful day excursion is less than an hour from Denver. The journey begins in Idaho Springs and ends at Mount Evans. CO-5 from Echo Lake to Mount Evans is usually closed in the winter and open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Stop at New Castle, CO, to round up your third day of driving.

Day 4

411 mi — about 8 hours, 5 mins

Mount Evans Scenic Byway to Colorado National Monument

Begin your fourth day by visiting Colorado National Monument. The Colorado National Monument is on the northern edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The Plateau, which rises more than 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, rose once, entirely eroded, then rose again over the previous 2 billion years. The Sandstone Plateau stretches from here to Telluride. Once on Monument Road, you enter the beautiful Colorado National Monument at the East Entrance. Rim Rock Drive winds across semi-desert terrain filled with pion pine and juniper, as well as mule deer, gray fox, and Hopi chipmunks. At Devils Kitchen Picnic Area, take in the scenery. A circle of upright boulders forms a natural entrance called Devil’s Kitchen. This fantastic and pleasantly shaded spot is accessible by Devil’s Kitchen Trail, a 1.5 km round trip.

Colorado National Monument to Castle Valley Road

A detour down Castle Valley Road will take you to an incredible view of the La Sal Mountains and Castle Rock. We recommend taking the paved stretch of the road at least for a closer look. Astle Valley, Utah, is a peaceful haven just 20 miles north of the bustling metropolis of Moab. And this is the place for relaxation, surrounded by some of Utah’s most stunning landscapes. 

Castle Valley is in the shadow of Castle Rock Peak, sometimes known as Castleton Tower by the locals. The La Sal Mountains, red rock towers, and the Colorado River share the horizon with this castle-like structure. Hiking around Castle Valley is feasible, although most people use it to recharge their batteries after a long day of sightseeing and activities elsewhere.

Castle Valley Road to Fishlake Scenic Byway

The Fishlake Scenic Byway ascends to an elevation of 9,000 feet before entering the Fishlake National Forest, which surrounds Fish Lake’s magnificent blue-green waters. Fishermen, bikers, and campers frequent the region. The historic Fish Lake Lodge, built by the hands of determined pioneers, graces the popular fishing spot. Bicyclists and nature enthusiasts can enjoy a choice of paths in the nearby Fishlake National Forest. While admiring nature’s wonders, it is customary to observe a deer or two directly along the byway. The changing colors of red, orange and yellow illuminate the aspen-covered mountains along the byway in the fall. Relax at Kingston, UT, after this long trip.

Day 5

Fishlake Scenic Byway to Bryce Canyon, UT

On your fifth day, you arrive at Bryce Canyon. The drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon is unforgettable because it is full of breathtaking scenic drives that will make your trip memorable. Bryce Canyon Country—including Bryce Canyon National Park and so much more—offers canyons, woodlands, and lakes for exploration.

FAQs

How far is Bryce canyon from zion

Bryce Canyon is 74.7 miles/120.4 kilometers from Zion National Park via the US-89 S.

Where to stay between Zion and Bryce

There are many places to stay between Zion and Bryce Canyon. Some popular choices include Springdale, UT (2 hours from Bryce Canyon), Kanab, UT (2.5 hours from Bryce Canyon), and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ (3 hours from Bryce Canyon).

Is the drive from Zion to Bryce scary

The drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon is not scary. However, it is recommended that you take the scenic route and drive through Bryce Canyon National Park to get to your destination. This will allow you to see some of the most incredible views in the world.

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