A ‘Monumental’ Journey
The road goes through or near two national parks, three state parks, a national recreation area, a national monument and a national forest. Along the way, you’ll pass through small towns offering food, gas and character — Bryce Canyon City, Tropic, Cannonville, Henrieville, Escalante, Boulder and Torrey.
How you approach the drive depends on time and interests. Much of the road goes through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the largest national monument in the United States. I chose to dabble in food, culture and hiking for two days, but it wasn’t nearly long enough.
Moving from west to east, Red Canyon explodes with vibrant shades of red and orange rocks. Their color is due to a combination of iron and oxygen, along with exposure to nature’s elements. It’s as if a big red movie curtain opens to expose the features beyond.
Nearby, Bryce Canyon National Park has an awe-inspiring amphitheater that elicits gasps upon first sight. Walk the popular 1.3-mile Navajo Loop Trail, which features limestone hoodoos and a slot canyon lined with tall Douglas Fir trees. Before moving on, eat or stay at the lodge designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, who also designed the lodges at Zion and Yosemite National Parks.