Utah's best pit stops for desert trips
Spring is the perfect time for a trip to southern Utah, but it can be a long haul.
- Fortunately, there are lots of fun stops on the way.
👋 Erin here! My family is heading south to go camping this weekend. These are some of our favorite stops:
Scipio Flying J petting zoo
The truck stop hosts a free petting zoo with a camel, peacocks, ducks, mini-cows, goats and other critters on weekends until Memorial Day, when it opens all week for summer.
- If a goat shows particular interest in you, enjoy the cuteness but mind your belongings; they are intrepid snack-finders.
Meadow hot springs and lava tubes
The hot springs have gotten busy in recent years, but the sapphire water makes for a fun and surreal swim in a remote cow pasture.
- The lava tubes take longer than the springs to explore but are amazing if you have an extra couple of hours and a high-clearance vehicle.
To eat: The Creamery, Beaver
Treat yourself to ice cream, cheese and fresh milk.
U.S. Highways 6 and 191 toward Moab
USU's Price Campus has dino fossils, ancient art, children's activities and a full-scale replica cliff dwelling.
- Admission: $6 with discounts for kids and others.
Stop in Green River to check out the clunky lil' boats Powell and others used to navigate the mighty rivers of the west.
- Admission: $7 with discounts for kids and others.
To eat: Cowboy's Kitchen, Wellington
Go back in time to this old-school steakhouse with good eats, thick plates and a covered wagon out front.
On to Lake Powell
Gas up at Hollow Mountain for the novelty of a convenience store in a cave, admire the sculptures at Carl's Critter Garden, and grab a massive shake at Stan's Burger Shak.
When people say Utah's state parks would be national parks anywhere else, they're talking about this surreal mushroom-scape off S.R. 24.
- It's busy in spring, so midweek visits are better if you can swing it.
- Admission: $25 per car on weekends in spring and fall, down to $20 on weekdays and during summer and winter months.
Tell us: What are your favorite side trips, sights and pit stops when you travel to our southern deserts?
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