The Spirit of the American Road Trip

Awe-inspiring sights.

Experience the spirit of the American road trip this fall with a roughly five-hour drive along the scenic byways of the Southwest. Fly into Las Vegas and overnight at the Cosmopolitan, where you can dine on psychedelic Italian cuisine at Superfrico and take in the hilarious and raunchy show Opium. The next day, leave Sin City behind to observe the amazing red rock formations, giant ponderosa pines, and unexpectedly colourful fall foliage of Southern Utah.



Head out on Interstate 15 north for about 320 kilometres (approximately three hours) toward Parowan, Utah. You’ll pass the exits for Valley of Fire State Park and Zion National Park, which are worthy side trips if you have extra time. Near Parowan, exit onto Scenic Byway 143, also known as Patchwork Parkway, Utah’s first All-American Road. As part of Southern Utah’s Fall Color Loop, this hour-long drive provides views of red and gold aspens in Sidney Valley, the pink cliffs of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, captivating woods in the Dixie National Forest, and picturesque Panguitch Lake.


When you arrive at Highway 89, turn right and stay on the road until it intersects with Scenic Byway 12, then turn left. Take your time along Scenic Byway 12—also known as A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway—to really appreciate the landscape that unfolds around you. Stop at the scenic overlook at the route’s 2,700-metre-high summit to gawk at the Henry Mountains, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and the red rock of Capitol Reef National Park. The road passes Bryce Canyon National Park and Kodachrome Basin State Park, both great places to stop for a quick hike. Highlights along the way are the two drive-through red arches in Red Canyon.



After a long day of awe-inspiring sights, you’ll arrive at Yonder Escalante. The laid-back resort offers rustic accommodation with modern amenities in Airstreams, cabins, and RVs, allowing guests to interact with the grandeur of the outdoors without sacrificing comfort and style.


Stop by the general store for provisions and meal kits to cook over your firepit, grab a bite at the on-site food truck, or sip a craft cocktail at the  lodge. One of the coolest features is the drive-in movie theatre, where guests can watch a movie from one of nine restored classic cars.


Yonder is the perfect home base for guests to explore Southern Utah, through activities such as hiking slot canyons in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, horseback riding in Bryce Canyon National Park, and canoeing through Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. Fall is the ideal time to visit, with fewer crowds, less heat, and vibrant fall foliage, and when Yonder offers cozy amenities, including s’mores kits, stargazing with plush blankets, and morning coffee by a firepit or in front of the fireplaces in the clubhouse.



According to the National Parks Service, Bryce and Grand Staircase combined host nearly three million visitors per year. The Escalante Interagency Visitor Center recently unveiled a new outdoor exhibit to help visitors have safer adventures in the area and forge deeper connections with the public lands through trip planning, safety and preparedness, and Leave No Trace principles.

Images courtesy of The Nomadic People.