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Utah Travel Headlines

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Highway 50 - The Loneliest Road in America

Below we share a couple interesting questions submitted via our website questions/comments link.

Question: Hi there, I'm driving from New York to San Francisco and taking the Interste 50 which takes me through here. I was hoping you might have a map with locations of gas stations and motels along the US 50? Any help would be great. Many thanks.

Simple question, but the answer is somewhat involved.

US Highway 50 is a major east-west route across the US. In most places it is a regular highway, not a part of the Interstate System. However, in some spots (including eastern Utah) it merges with Interstate highways.

Our request information form allows people to request a Utah road map and other travel info. The map shows highways and towns. In most towns you will find gas stations and motels. Hwy 50 cuts through some of the most remote parts of Utah, where there are long stretches with no towns or services.

From the east, Hwy 50 enters Utah merged with I-70. The interstate passes through the town of Green River and then plunges across the rugged San Rafael Swell - where there is a 110-mile stretch between gas stations. (There are no towns, no restaurants or motels, not even drinking water along that stretch).

Hwy 50 separates from the interstate at the town of Salina. It heads northwest across mountains to the town of Scipio, where it merges with I-15 for a short distance, traveling south to the town of Holden. From there, Hwy 50 heads west to Delta and then crosses the desert to the Nevada border.

The section of Hwy 50 west of Delta has been called the "Loneliest Road in America." There is a 100-mile stretch between towns, which means 100 miles between gas stations, restaurants and motels. The terrain in that area is dry, remote, rugged Great Basin desert.

In all areas the highway is paved and maintained, and it is patrolled by the Utah Highway Patrol and by county sheriff deputies. It is a beautiful, unusual, interesting drive that can be made year-round. Just be prepared for long stretches between services.


Question: What is the highest mountain in a Utah National Park? How tall and what park?

The highest point in a Utah national park is in Bryce Canyon, where the rim climbs to over 9,100 feet. A road follows the rim and so you can drive - you don't need to hike. Nearby, there are points a little bit higher that you would have to hike to see.

But the top of Bryce is a plateau, more than a mountain.

Horse Ranch Mountain is the highest point in Zion Park, at an elevation of 8,726 ft. Not all that high, as mountains go. But it is steep and rugged, with sheer cliffs. Can you climb it? You would need technical rock climbing skills and equipment.

Hike the Taylor Creek trails in Zion's Kolob Canyons section for views of the mountain. No maintained trails approach the mountain. If you hike much in Zion you know the trails are spectacular. Off the established trails the terrain can become extremely treacherous. Go at your own risk.


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