The reaction we get when we show people a map of US Route 89 is usually, “Oh, I’ve been on that road but I didn’t realize that it went all the way from Canada to Mexico.” Folks remember road trips to the national parks or to one of the many towns and cities on highway 89. They may not recall the route number but they always remember the places they visited along the road. With this blog and our website, we hope to bring recognition to the West’s most scenic highway.
What makes US 89 so unique is that for most of its nearly 2,000 miles, it is a two-lane road. That means it is a “slow road” which keeps you close to the scenery providing ample opportunities to stop and experience the best America has to offer. In fact, it’s so much fun to drive that National Geographic named it the #1 Drivers’ Drive in the world.
And the scenery! How can you top seven of our most spectacular national parks: Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Grand Teton, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Saguaro? If that isn’t enough, you will also find fourteen national monuments, historical parks and recreation areas. Highway 89 passes through twenty national forests with access to twenty-two designated wilderness areas. Then there are the numerous state parks and historical sites. All of these provide recreational opportunities for all ages and inclinations.
If culture and history is what you travel for, you’ll find plenty of it along US Route 89. There are three heritage areas: Santa Cruz Valley in southern Arizona, Mormon Pioneer in southern Utah and Bear River in northern Utah and Idaho. Geotourism has also taken root along 89 from Crown of the Continent in Montana and Wyoming to Sonoran Desert in Arizona. There are three major cities—Tucson, Phoenix and Salt Lake City—each with unique cultural heritage and institutions. In between the parks and cities are over 150 smaller cities and towns where you will find a rich variety of history museums, art centers and regional architecture.
There is much to do and explore on US 89. We have driven over 25,000 miles to in the last five years to compile our Road Trip Guides on the US Route 89 Appreciation Society website. Use that website as a reference tool to find information and to plan your driving vacation. And follow us on this blog to hear about our adventures and to learn about current events along the road.
And finally, feel free to contact us with your questions and comments. We’d love to hear from you.