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Kolob Fingers Scenic Byway

It may be a slight exaggeration, but Kolob Fingers Scenic Byway is one of the best short picturesque drives in the American West … and possibly all of Utah. This spectacular drive can be made in less than an hour and should not be missed. Located about 18 miles south of Cedar City, it is accessible right off of I-15 and is just a short 10 mile round trip. Kolob Canyons is an extension of Zion National Park, and features the same dramatic landscape. We followed the conventional wisdom and took the drive during the late afternoon. This is sound advice in view of the fact that the sun is shining in the western sky, maximizing the drama of the deep red-orange cliffs.

The road is unmistakably red. It climbs steeply from the visitor center, ascending 1100 feet in 5 miles with steep grades, curves, and spectacular scenery. Since we didn’t take the time to hike into one of the side canyons, we can only speculate about the beauty we missed. For example, the world’s largest freestanding arch is a strenuous 7 mile hike (one way) into the heart of the Kolob wilderness.

A bit of trivia: Although it may sound like an Indian name, Kolob was named by the early Mormon settlers for the star closest to Heaven in the Book of Mormon.

We stayed for a week at the Cedar City KOA RV Park. Normally we avoid KOAs like the plague, but this park is truly special. In addition to all of their unique amenities (espresso bar, homemade fudge, big screen theater), it was landscaped with numerous mature trees bursting forth in their fall glory. However, we were having such a good time, we forgot to take pictures of Cedar City!

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