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Scenic Drives in Northern Utah

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Utah has so many beautiful scenic drives. There are too many to include them all in one post, so this post focuses on the scenic drives in Northern Utah. Scenic drives are a great way to appreciate the beauty of nature, even when you can’t get out for hikes.

I will be describing these Utah scenic drives generally from north to south with some to the east or west, including Logan Canyon, Antelope Island, Emigration Canyon, East Canyon, Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, Mill Hollow, Millcreek Canyon, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Guardsman Pass, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alpine Loop, American Fork Canyon, Provo Canyon, Kyhv Peak Road, Nebo Loop (Payson and Nephi Canyons),

Logan Canyon to Bear Lake

Logan Canyon is such a lovely drive at the north end of Utah.

You could stop for hikes like the Wind Cave, Right Hand Fork Waterfall, Hobbit Caves, Tony Grove, or Bear Lake.

Antelope Island

Antelope Island landscape is different and the animals are unique! It is only an hour north of Salt Lake, but it’s very unique. It got its name from the pronghorn antelope, but there are also herds of mule deer and lots of bison. Porcupines, owls, coyotes are also found here.

East Canyon

East Canyon Scenic Drive is just east of the Salt Lake Valley. It is very beautiful, especially in the early fall!

The Mormon Pioneer Trail, Big Mountain, Little Dell Reservoir, and East Canyon Reservoir are all along this route.

Emigration Canyon could also be included with East Canyon as part of a loop. It has homes and businesses, so isn’t a typical scenic drive.

Mirror Lake Scenic Byway

Further east is the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. It is the road through the majestic Uinta Mountains. All of these scenes can be seen from the road without hiking, including Upper Provo River Falls, Bald Mountain Overlook, Hayden Peak Viewpoint, Highland Trailhead, Mirror Lake, and dozens of other lakes.

Hikes in this area including Mirror Lake Loop, Crystal Lake, Bonnie Lake, Lofty Lakes Loop, Ruth Lake, and more.

Mill Hollow

Another beautiful drive in the Unita Mountains is Mill Hollow. It has a great reservoir and incredibly stunning wildflowers!

Flaming Gorge Scenic Drive

In Northeast Utah the roads around beautiful Flaming Gorge are stunning!

While in the area check out the nearby Green River, Dinosaur National MonumentMoonshine ArchRed Fleet ReservoirDinosaur Trackway, Steinaker Reservoir, and Fremont petroglyphs

Millcreek Canyon

Millcreek Canyon is a beautiful canyon on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley. This one has a $5 fee.

Trails in Millcreek Canyon include Rattlesnake Gulch, Thaynes Canyon and Desolation Trail, Salt Lake Canyon Overlook, and Porter Fork Road. Nearby Neff’s Canyon is also gorgeous.

Big Cottonwood Canyon

One of the main canyons in the Salt Lake area is Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is a favorite destination of hikers, picnickers, skiers, and wildlife! Big Cottonwood Canyon is also a gorgeous scenic drive, especially in the fall!

Hikes in Big Cottonwood and include Ledgemere Cave, Granite Flume Trail, Stairs Gulch, Lake Blanche, Lakes Florence and Lillian,

Mill B South, Hidden Falls, Lower Mill B North Fork Trail, Circle-All Peak, Donut Falls, Willow Heights / Willow Lake , Willow Lake, Silver Lake,  Lake SolitudeTwin LakesPatsy Marley PeakBrighton Loop,  Lake Mary, Lake Catherine, Dog Lake, Sunset Peak, Mount Tuscarora, Mount Wolverine, and nearby Heugh’s Canyon.

Guardsman Pass

At the top of Big Cottonwood is Guardsman Pass that connects to Park City. Guardsman Pass is only open seasonally in summer and fall because of the high snowfall in the winter. 

Hikes in Guardsman’s Pass include Bloods Lake, Lake Lackawaxen, Loopine, and Kalamazoo.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Little Cottonwood Canyon is a beautiful canyon in the southeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley. It is well-known for its glorious wildflowers in the late summer and snow skiing in the winter.

Little Cottonwood Trails include Temple Quarry Nature Trail, Lisa Falls, Gloria Falls, Red Pine Lake, Maybird Gulch to Maybird Lakes, Red Pine Lake, Maybird Gulch to Maybird Lakes, Mount Superior and Monte Cristo, Cardiff Pass, Albion Meadows, Cecret Lake from the Alta Base, Albion Meadows, Cecret Lake, Lake CatherineSunset PeakMount TuscaroraMount Wolverine, and Sunset Peak.

At the top of Little Cottonwood you can drive to the Albion Meadows.

Alpine Loop

The Alpine Loop is a combination of connecting American Fork Canyon and Provo Canyon. This is such a stunning area! There is a $6 fee or a a National Parks Pass to enter.

Wildlife and gorgeous scenes can be seen from the road.

Easy stops include Canyon Nature Trail, Tibble Fork Reservoir, Silver Flat Lake, and Bridal Veil Falls.

You can also stop at the Deer Creek Overlook and Cascade Springs Trail just off the Alpine Loop.

There are so many hikes within the Alpine Loop that it will be easier to click on that link directly, but here is a list and a few pictures. Hikes include Tibble Fork Trail/Tibble Fork Loop, Silver Flat Lake Trail, Silver Lake, Pine Hollow Trail, Alpine Road in Winter, Mount Timpanogos Trail, Scout Falls ViewpointScout FallsJulie Andrew’s Meadow, Island Meadow, Ridge Trail 157, Primrose Overlook,  Canyon Glen Loop, Lost Creek FallsSpringdell Cascade, Bridesmaid Falls, Upper Falls, Mountain Backdrop, Timpanogos Cave Trail, and Timpanogos Cave.    

You can also add on a small detour to South Fork in Provo Canyon. This area includes South Fork ParkBig Springs Hollow LoopBig Springs to First Meadow, Provo River, and frozen bubbles.

Hikes in American Fork Canyon Kyhv Peak Road

Kyhv Peak Road is a beautiful drive, especially in early fall! It is an offshoot of Provo Canyon.

The Kyhv Peak Overlook has stunning views without a hike.

You can continue along the Kyhv Peak Road past the paved section.

Hikes along the Kyhv Peak Road include Quito’s Incline Trail, Upper Quito Trail, Quito Trail, Buffalo Peak Trail, and Rock Canyon Overlook.

Diamond Fork Canyon

Diamond Fork Canyon near Spanish Fork has Red Ledges and looks like Southern Utah.

Fifth Water Hot Springs is in this canyon too.

Nebo Loop

The Nebo Loop connects Payson Canyon with Nephi.

Payson Lakes can also be seen from the car and even better from a short walk.

Devil’s Kitchen looks like it’s part of Southern Utah, but can be seen in Utah County from very short 0.2 mile roundtrip wheelchair-friendly walk.

Other mostly easy hikes in the Nebo Loop include Grotto Falls, Double Falls, Salt Creek Waterfall, Maple Lake, and more.

Wild Horses

Wild horses are beautiful and fascinating animals. The most accessible herd to Salt Lake is the Onaqui Wild Horses in Toole County near Simpson Springs Pony Express Historic Site.

Maple Canyon

Maple Canyon is a fascinating canyon in San Pete County with conglomerate rock.

Click on this post for Scenic Drives in Southern Utah.


We have so much beauty in Utah to explore! I love hiking and photography and can help you find your next favorite hike! All photos were taken by me!

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