Best Scenic Drives by Zion National Park!
I was in Zion National Park last week, in the middle of July. In trying to see as much as possible with my dog at Zion, I ran into several problems: the heat, the crowds, & the fact that Zion closes off their “Scenic Drive” that takes you past all the main highlights, like Angel’s Landing, Emerald Pools, & Court of the Patriarchs. In the summer, this drive is ONLY open to shuttles….no cars allowed!! Not to mention, all the parking lots in Zion were full by 8AM. Sooo…I had to figure out some Plan B’s! To see more of the beauty of Zion with less of the crowds, join me here on some of the “Best Scenic Drives by Zion National Park!”
Map of Zion
In this article, I’ll hone in on 4 scenic drives near Zion National Park ~ all within about 20 minutes from the park itself. Because the stretch of highway that runs through Zion is so short (12 miles), & because you’re so close to these massive mountains, I found that some of my better photos came from being a little further away, so that you can truly get a better perspective on these glorious vistas.
- Kolob Terrace Road to Kolob Reservoir (starting in the town of Virgin)
- The dirt road to Grafton Ghost Town (near Rockville)
- Kolob Canyons Road to Kolob Canyon Viewpoint (exit off I-15)
- Quail Creek Reservoir & Sand Hollow Reservoir (near the town of Hurricane)
Zion National Park Entrance
Quail Creek Reservoir
Sand Hollow State Reservoir
Grafton Ghost Town
Kolob Canyon Road
Best Scenic Drives by Zion National Park
1. Kolob Terrace Road to Kolob Reservoir (25 miles)
When I spoke with locals, this seemed to be everyone’s favorite drive. Compared to Zion itself, the crowds here are almost non-existent, the views of Zion (from its backside) are INSANE, & the destination of Kolob Reservoir is a beauty unto itself. Not to mention, this is a great drive to escape the heat: as you climb into the mountains, the temperature drops about 10-20 degrees. To find this drive, go to the town of Virgin, which is about 14 miles west of the Zion Park Entrance in Springdale. Turn north onto Kolob Terrace Road & continue for 25 miles, until you reach Kolob Reservoir (this is paved road all the way, until you reach the reservoir,).
2. Dirt Road to Grafton Ghost Town (3.7 miles)
In the small town of Rockville, which is also just a few miles from Springdale, turn south onto Bridge Road. Take this road for 3.7 miles until you reach Grafton Ghost Town (it turns into a dirt road about half-way there). The long views of Zion over cow-filled pastures are both peaceful & awe-inspiring ~ & Grafton itself is a fun detour back in time.
3. Kolob Canyon Road to Kolob Canyon Viewpoint (5 miles)
This route will show you an entirely different view of Zion altogether: & it’s spectacular. There are plenty of pull-outs along Kolob Canyon Road…& believe me, you’ll want to use them. Coming here at sunrise or sunset would be UNREAL. From I-15, take the Kolob Canyon exit east; the road will take you right on up to the viewpoint. Park entrance fee is required here.
4. Quail Creek Reservoir & Sand Hollow Reservoir
Finally, if you’re visiting Zion during the summertime (as most do), I’m willing to bet you’re ready to cool off…because it gets HOT as heck at Zion! If you’re not staying in a hotel with a pool (like the La Quinta Inn in Springdale, which arguably has the most gorgeously-situated pool by Zion), head out to either Quail Creek or Sand Hollow Reservoir ~ both located west of Zion, near the town of Hurricane. You can swim, boat, paddle-board, or take your dog for a dip at both places, while taking in views of the surrounding canyon landscape.
Best Scenic Drives by Zion National Park
Thanks for joining our “Best Scenic Drives by Zion National Park!” If you have a pet with you at Zion, these drives will give you many more options to get your dog out of the car & stretch his legs…or swim, if you decide to visit either of the reservoirs. Enjoy your time in & around the park!
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