Getting Oriented

Interstate 70 is the speedway that gets you across Utah, but to dip into southeastern Utah you'll need to use the main artery, U.S. 191, which runs south toward the Arizona border. The only road that stretches any distance westward across the region is Highway 95, which dead-ends at Lake Powell. No matter which of the state roads you use to explore the area, you're in for a treat. Here, the earth is red, purple, and orange. The Manti–La Sal Mountains rise out of the desert like ships. Mesas, buttes, and pinnacles interrupt the horizon in a most surprising way. But this is some of the most remote country in the United States, so services are sometimes far apart.

Moab. Small but unbelievably busy in spring, summer, and fall, Moab is on the Colorado River, south of I–70 on U.S. 191. More than 100 miles from any large town, it’s close to nothing, and its residents are just fine with that.

Southeastern Utah. From Green River to Mexican Hat, this large swath of desert has a very small population. The most easily reached destinations are the small towns right on U.S. 191 or I–70, but some of the most beautiful stops require substantial but worthwhile detours off these main roads. Lake Powell, about three hours southwest of Moab, remains a favorite among visitors and locals alike.

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