Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway - Highway 89

Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway -  Utah Heritage Highway

East Zion Tourism Council
Mt. Carmel
Scenic Byway

The Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway runs 60 miles, from Kanab to the junction of SR-12, which travels to Bryce Canyon. It also intersects with the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway that runs through Zion National Park, and SR-14 to Cedar Mountain. Three miles south of the Junction is the turn-off to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Enjoy is here where summers are moderate and winters are mild.

Utah Heritage Highway 89

The Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway, makes up much of the "Under the Rim" section of the Heritage Highway. The Heritage Highway program supports and protects the pioneer heritage of those sites found along Utah's Highway 89.  The Historic Rock Church and the Maynard Dixon Home, both are on the register of historic places, are found in Mount Carmel. Heading north to the town of Orderville, is the Daughters of the Pioneers, a historic little building with books and souvenirs from the past. Driving along the Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway, there are beautiful mountains dotted with small towns and interesting stops. The rock shops in Orderville offer unique Utah geodes and some quaint little stores have their doors open to sell handmade Indian blankets, jewelry, rugs and other goods. The charming and Historic Smith Hotel, built in 1927, is found in Glendale with its door still open for public lodging. Directly across the highway is an entrance to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. If you choose to take the graded dirt road backway through the Grand Staircase-Escalante, you will come out in Cannonville, near Bryce Canyon. The drive along these roads is heartwarming. In the Southwest, the Mohave Desert, Great Basin and Colorado Plateau meet to contribute to the varied landscaping, flora and climate. The changing terrain of Southern Utah makes it ideal for driving and recreation.  Look for star gazing signs, often seen along the road, near Mt. Carmel Junction and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes where it is ideal for star gazing due to the lack of light pollution and haze.

East Fork Virgin River

The East Fork of the Virgin River begins near Alton, Utah and runs through Mt. Carmel Junction. From Mt. Carmel Junction it forms one of the most magnificent hikes anywhere, Parunuweap!  This route takes hikers through the river as the walls narrow to form a slot canyon.  Deep in the bowels is Fat Man's Misery, a technical section which can be bypassed.  Hikers navigate their way out of the river and end their route at Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park. The river, however, continues to the confluence with the North Fork of the Virgin River which meets on the south side of Zion. The North Fork of the Virgin River is the river that is famous for carving Zion Canyon and although both forks look harmless they can become powerful when it floods.

Zion National Park Vacation: Canyon Country

Zion National Park Map Red Canyon - Dixie National Forest Cedar Mountain - Dixie National Forest Zion National Park Coral Pink Sand Dunes North Rim of the Grand Canyon Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument East Zion Welcome Center Bryce Canyon National Park Cedar Breaks National Monument Scenic Byway 89 Scenic Byway 14 Scenic Byway 143 Scenic Byway 12 Scenic Byway 9 - Zion Mt. Carmel Hwy Zion National Park Lodging Zion National Park Lodging

Private vehicles can travel SR-9, from Zion's south entrance, out the east entrance (or visa versa) to the junction of SR-9 & US-89 year-round, 24 hours a day. See tunnel restrictions for Oversized Vehicles. In summer, the only access to the Scenic Zion Canyon Drive is via Zion's shuttle, but during the winter private vehicles can travel in the canyon. Exact dates the shuttle runs may vary.

Naturalist NotesNature Notes

If you are on the Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway then you are deep in the heart of Color County. The color comes from vegetation, water and the varied shades of red in the sandstone. Iron oxide, is responsible for the majority of the reds and pinks and even some yellows, browns and black. Bacteria lends its hand as well by ingesting dust and expelling iron and other minerals that will stick on the sandstone producing what is called "desert varnish," which is on display in Zion National Park on monoliths such as the Streaked Wall.

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Mount Carmel, Utah P.O. Box 5542

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