America's Scenic Byways

Scenic Byway 143 - Utah's Patchwork Parkway

51 miles - Allow two hours to drive the byway.

Scenic Byway 143 - Utah’s Patchwork Parkway serves as the western gateway from the arid Great Basin of western Utah to a breathtaking route across Utah’s high plateaus, connecting to Heritage Highway 89 and Scenic Byway 12, Utah’s first All American Road. Historic pioneer communities “bookmark” each end of the route, once traveled by ancient inhabitants to hunt, fish, and gather tools and food.

Early settlers desperate for food once crossed the plateau in midwinter using handmade quilts laid atop deep snow to reach settlements to the west. Such quilts are reminders of the patchwork of the byway's unparalleled scenery, vibrant history and natural beauty unequaled across the country.

Today, travelers of Utah’s Patchwork Parkway begin their trek in historic communities where examples of early Mormon pioneer settlement and culture abound. The communities of Parowan and Panguitch contain a large concentration of 19th-century architecture and historic sites. The entire original Panguitch townsite is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These two town sites were previously home to ancient native peoples who left behind an abundance of petroglyphs, pictographs, and more. Additional evidence indicates that these early inhabitants followed ancient migration routes into the high elevation expanses capped by Cedar Breaks National Monument, where vistas extend for hundreds of miles. This high elevation landscape is home to Brian Head, Utah’s highest elevation community and southernmost ski area, as well as other year-round resorts.

Very few routes in the U.S. exhibit a 4,500-foot elevation change that crosses six major life zones in 51 miles. The route skirts lava flows only a few thousand years old before passing Panguitch Lake, a spectacular, large mountain lake renowned for its excellent fishing. This topmost rise of the geological “Grand Staircase” showcases the 2,000-foot-deep Cedar Breaks amphitheater with its vibrant hues of pink, orange, red, and other coral colors carved from the Claron Formation. The plateau provides views that extend for hundreds of miles and are home to some of the darkest night skies in the country.