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The View from the Front Seat

June 9, 2015 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Mountain ranges, uncluttered landscapes, high canyon walls, peculiar rock formations, an occasional stream, flitting wildlife and a seemingly unending road, it is summer, let’s start a road trip. America has over 164,000 miles of Highways. There are around 800 distinct and diverse roads designated to be an American Byway by fulfilling one of six intrinsic qualities.  Which quality lures you? Scenery, History, Culture, Archeology, Recreation or Natural undisturbed features are mapped in corridors for the enjoyment of travelers.


In America’s southwest many a pilgrim will vie for an itinerary known as the Grand Circle. Often stemming from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City or Denver, the route is powerful. The Grand Circle regularly includes, but is not exclusive to Monument Valley, Four Corners Monument, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion National Parks. Across the nation, the Utah Office of Tourism has had Mighty 5 commercials playing on television influencing many to plan to see southern Utah’s magnificent 5: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. There are eight National Scenic Byways in Utah and twenty one Utah Scenic Byways all told.

Interestingly, two National Parks and three scenic byways, as well as portions of the Dinosaur Diamond national Prehistoric Byway, are found in southeastern Utah near Moab. Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are visually exhilarating. Besides, the fact visitors get TWO national parks from one town stay is clearly a good value.  The parks are diverse and center stage. Beyond the parks are features of chasms, crags, and dunes, with the bluest clear skies or distinct clouds set on azure or dramatically changing clouds floating low on cliff walls, peaks, and sculpted sandstone. Eyes watch for the local flora and fauna dispersed along every passage.

Moab has been the setting for movies since 1949 because these iconic landscapes are an amazing backdrop to tell a story. Travelers can download an Auto Tour Movie Locations pamphlet to connect the sights to movies with a sequence filmed in the area. Another pamphlet to download from is the Self-Guided Auto Tours. Both of these pamphlets are handed out free by the good folks at the Moab Information Center in downtown Moab.

The National Park Service will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2016. There promises to be additional park programs across America to celebrate. An initiative to get in Free of Charge for 4th graders and their families into our country’s NPS treasures is a targeted opportunity to get more Americans exploring OutDoors, although the kids will be getting a view from the back seat.

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