Cougar Ridge

The Best Scenic Drives of Capitol Reef National Park

Jul 20, 2022 | Capitol Reef National Park, Cougar Ridge Lodge, Surrounding Area, Things to do in Utah | 0 comments

Staying in villas near Capitol Reef is a great way to get to the park early to take on some of its longer or busier trails. It also makes it easy to travel to and from the park during the day, heading back to your villa to grill lunch on your private patio or to relax during the hottest part of the day

But what if you find that you need a break from all that hiking, off-roading, biking, and exploring? You’re in luck; the region is also full of stunning scenic drives perfect for resting your legs and enjoying some of Southern Utah’s unique landscapes.

If you have an upcoming trip to the best vacation rentals Torrey UT has to offer, keep reading to learn a few scenic drives to enjoy during your visit.

Capitol Reef National Park’s Scenic Drive

One of the best scenic drives in the area, especially when you’re staying in villas near Capitol Reef, is the park’s Scenic Drive. At just under 8 miles one-way and paved for the full length, this roadway is a great choice for any visitors — no off-roading required. However, there are two dirt spur roads on the route as well. These additional side trips are still accessible by most passenger vehicles, as well as RVs under 28 feet in length. These spur roads take you into canyons and offer access to a variety of popular trailheads.

With a few stops for photos and to take in the stunning views, it will take you around an hour and a half to drive the Scenic Drive. If you choose to enjoy some of the trails that you’ll pass along the way, this drive can take a full day to explore!

During your drive, you’ll pass stunning rock formations, like the Moenkopi Formation, which displays thousands of layers of rock, and the Chinle Formation, a rock formation that stretches up a rock face and is rich in petrified wood.

As with many areas in Capitol Reef, mud, rain, snow, ice, and flash floods can make parts of the Scenic Drive inaccessible. It’s a good idea to stop by the Visitor Center when you get to the park each day to check on road and trail closures, as well as any warnings that may be in place.

Burr Trail Loop

Looking for a full day of driving and exploring Southern Utah? Head to this beautiful drive. The Burr Trail begins in either Bullfrog or Boulder, Utah. Bullfrog is about 2 hours from our vacation rentals in Torrey UT, while Boulder is just under an hour. You can start the drive on either end, depending on whether you’d like to make the 2-hour drive between your vacation rental and the drive first thing or at the end of the day. But the road trip to get to this scenic drive will also take you through some incredible landscapes!

Burr Trail is located just outside of the Northeast edge of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It stretches more than 67 miles across some of the most remote backcountry that Utah has to offer. On this long stretch of road, you’ll pass sandstone cliffs, towering mountain peaks, natural arches, and more. There are also a variety of trailheads, ranging from short hikes to lengthy treks. 

The Burr Trail passes several (usually) dry creekbeds. If conditions are rainy, either on the trail or to the north, on the day you plan to drive it, make sure that you are aware of what to watch for to avoid getting caught in a flash flood. Additionally, sections of the Burr Trail are unpaved and bumpy. Four-wheel drive is not necessary, but this road is best traveled in a vehicle with higher clearance.

Fish Lake Scenic Drive

In stark contrast to the desert landscapes you’ll experience on the Scenic Drive and Burr Trail, Fish Lake Scenic Drive takes you from the rocky sagebrush to an aspen-lined mountain oasis. This drive is a great way to experience more of the diverse landscapes that Southern Utah is home to — and that many visitors to the region never get to see!

The Fish Lake Scenic Drive is 13 miles long and will take you around 45 minutes to drive if you travel straight through. Because of the different ecosystems that you’ll pass, this drive is a great chance to spot some wildlife, including elk, squirrels, and other small game. This drive is particularly beautiful in the fall, when you’ll travel through layer after layer of changing leaves and vibrant colors.

Enjoying a Scenic Drive During Your Stay at Our Villas Near Capitol Reef

Planning a visit to our villas near Capitol Reef this fall? These scenic drives are a great way to take a break from hiking or to enjoy the changing fall colors. They’re also perfect for families who may be unable to take on some of the region’s more challenging hikes, but who still want to see rock formations, arches, and other natural landmarks.

Staying at the best vacation rentals Torrey UT has to offer means enjoying easy access to these and other scenic drives. Book your next stay today to experience them for yourself!

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