Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see.
A long detour from I 70 – from east to west – starting shortly after Green River and going on as far as Sigurd, even if the most “wrought” trait is certainly that one taking at the end of Utah 12, in Torrey, the natural prosecution towards Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley and Moab.
Road rich in surprises and amazing views, which can be easily driven by day including some stages along the path.
A mention apart for the lovers of trekking and average-high level excursions (3/4 hours up): in this case it will be necessary to camp in the reserved areas or stay overnight in the (few) towns along the route, near the detouring for the trailheads.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: the stages not to miss along the path
Find down here the complete path – with stages not to be missed – that Utah Scenic Byway 24 follows from Green River (for who comes from Moab and goes towards Utah 12) as far as Sigurd.
A route that can be easily done both ways according to the travel itinerary chosen and the single needs.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: Eardley Canyon
Eardley Canyon is a proper treasure for the most skilled and fond excursionists.
It can be reached detouring on the right few kilometers after have taking Utah Scenic Byway 24, through a dirty road. The excursion is extremely difficult, about 15km to reach the deepest gorge of the canyon, and so it requires a certain physical training.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: visit Goblin Valley State Park and Little Wild Horse Canyon
The Goblin Valley State Park is another “hidden” wonder of Utah.
Together with the Bryce Canyon NP it holds the record of the highest concentration of natural Hoodoos in the world. I mean hundreds of thousands of mushroom shaped rocky pinnacles – often and however over 2meters high – which formed over time by sandstone blocks with a layer of stone resisting to the erosion on the top and by the presence of relatively soften and malleable rock at the base.
Find here a detailed article about the tour of the park and of a near Slot Canyon extremely suggestive – the Little Wild Horse Canyon.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: Hanksville
Hanksville, a small town about 50km far from the Goblin Valley State Park, is a strategical stage of Utah Scenic Byway 24 and is located shortly after the crossroads with Hwy 95 towards Capital Reef NP.
It is considered a sort of “gate” to the wonders of Utah and so it is used as strategic base camp for the tour not only of the Goblin Valley, but also of Capital Reef National Park, the Natural Bridges National Monument, the Henry Mountains and many other near natural attractions.
Stop to eat at Duke’s Slickrock Grill, a very local restaurant in pure country style with memorial images dedicated to the undisputed “king” of the west, John Wayne. You can taste delicious ribs, soups, smoked meat, stews and salads.
It is possible to stay overnight at the adjoining cabins, extremely cared and refined, or at the near camping.
Both are run by the Duke’s Slickrock Campground. Find here further info about it, besides the possibility to book directly your accommodation.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: visit The Mars Desert Research Station and Burpee Dinosaur Site
Two stages definitely original along this Utah 24 trait, shortly after Hanksville:
- The Mars Desert Research Station – a sort of study and research observatory/laboratory built in an area very similar to the Mars surface in order to reckon the possibilities of survival of the human beings on the red planet. It is possible to take part into some activities as voluntaries and sign up for courses and seasonal working experiences.
- Burpee Dinosaur site – it is located about 16km to the north-west of Hanskville. It is a cave dating back to the Jurassic era (150 million years ago) containing hundreds of dinosaur’s bones discovered by the Burpee Museum of Natural History in 2008. The initial archeological excavations included bones of at least another carnivorous dinosaur, a plant eater Stegosaur and several sauropods (among them Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus) – the biggest animals that have ever wandered on earth. Also remains of several predator Allosaurs – the state fossil of Utah – were discovered. Admission to the site is allowed only though a hard dirty road requiring necessarily a 4×4.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: Caineville
Caineville is a small town in the middle of the desert mainly famous for three reasons:
- The Factory Butte, a stunning monolith of almost 2000 meters raising in the middles of nothing. It can be reached through a dirty road form a detour of Utah Scenic Byway 24 shortly before enter Caineville.
- The Mesa Farm Market, a sort of giant barn where to buy fruit and vegetables, eat local products coming from the biological cultivations of a land shortly distant and drink a good coffee, American of course.
- The Rodeway Inn Capitol Reef, a good solution to stay overnight in the area.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: visit Capitol Reef National Park
Natural arches, red and ivory rock parks standing like skyscrapers’ façades, ancient Indian paths, desert, red land and sudden green oasis, everything wonderfully linked by Scenic Drives allowing to reach the several headtrails and viewpoints.
Capitol Reef National Park – one of 5 national parks of Utah, nicknamed The Mighty Five – is all this and so much more.
Less “famous” than the other 4 ones – Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP – not by chance it is defined “one of the best kept secrets of Utah”, and yet as well suggestive, captivating and wild. Over time carved by the Waterpocket Fold, a geological monocline barrier of 160km which gave origin to a series of variegated rocky formations with bright colors.
Trails not to miss:
- Hickman Bridge Trail
- Gooseneck Trail
- Cohab Canyon Trail
- Chimney Rock çoop
- Golden Throne Trail
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: visit Fruita
Green oasis in the heart of Capitol Reef National Park (the park’s Visitor Center is located right near the old village), Fruita was founded by a small Mormons community at the end of the 1800s.
Shortly after their arrival – exploiting the land made fertile by the nearness of the Fremont River – they planted almost 3000 fruit trees besides build a school and a series of buildings, mostly houses, farms, barns and inns, today still a part of the old village.
From June until October it is possible to stop and pick – according to the production of the period – peaches, cherries, pears, apples, apricots and eat them at the place, free. If you want to do a downright picking, then it is necessary to weight fruit and pay – usually there’s a self-payment station – according to the price fixed on the sign at the entrance.
Not to miss:
- The tour of the Gifford House, an old farm turned into a museum and shop – the fruit cakes sold at the store are really amazing!
- From Fruita leaves the Scenic Drive crossing a part of Capitol Reef as far as Golden throne – about 25km back and forth – among wonderful hairpin bends, viewpoints and red rock.
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: Torrey
Torrey is a proper crossroads of Scenic Byway. From here – besides the passage of Utah 24 – the Scenic Byway 12 leaves and it goes along for about 200km between landscapes and breathtaking views as far as Red Canyon.
Besides, of course, the ideal place to stay overnight – with a quite variegated offer of hotels and motels – for who visits the near Capitol Reef National Park.
But it is also a typical small town of the West developing with its Grocery Store, the old wooden church and the few inhabited houses along a crossroads. All around mountains, pine tree forests, prairies and valley.
Sunsets hereabout are unforgettable!
Utah Scenic Byway 24 what to see: from Torrey as far as Sigurd
From Torrey as far as Sigurd, Utah Scenic Byway 24 keeps going on for other 95km westwards before ending naturally into US 89/ I 70.
It is the less wrought and isolated trait of the whole Scenic Byway, the stages along the path to recommend are the small towns of Bicknell, Lyman and Loa, the Koosharem Reservoir Recreation Area, the suggestive plain of sand and red rock dunes of the Sand Ledges Recreation Area and the Rainbow Hills.