Stage 1: National Park to Park Highway Tour

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This summer 2016 we’re taking a seven week road trip to tour the National Park to Park Highway. But before we even get there we wanted to make sure we could do it. So we’ve divided our National Park to Park Highway Tour into two parts. Part one will be a one week tour of Utah starting May 30, 2016. 

George A. Grant, Photographer (NARA record: 1226390– U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Zion National Park
Zion National Park was part of the original National Park to Park Highway. The 1920 road followed the Arrowhead Trail from southern California into Utah. Unfortunately the 1920 Auto Tour group never made it to Zion National Park because of poor road conditions.

We wanted to visit because not only was Zion National Park the only National Park in Utah in 1920, it’s a beautiful place! We’ve visited before and especially enjoyed biking the Pa’rus Trail, Riverside Walk and swimming in our secret swim spot on the Virgin River.

In addition to Zion National Park we’ll be visiting Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument on stage one of our National Park to Park Highway Tour. Although Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks weren’t part of the National Park to Park Highway, they still have an interesting history.

Utah Parks Company
In 1923 the Union Pacific Railroad formed a subsidiary, The Utah Parks Company, in order to promote tourist travel to Zion, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks National Monuments. The railroad built a spur line from Lund to Cedar City, Utah and from there employed white touring buses to take tourists to these remote locations. 

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The Utah Parks Company built lodges and cabins in Zion National Park, the then Bryce Canyon National Monument and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the 1920s. Their financial investment in the parks was substantial. Some sources report the Utah Parks Company discriminated against private automobile travel to these parks because of the large stake they held there. Luckily that is not an issue today. With the popularization of automobile travel and improved roads now more people than ever can visit these uniquely beautiful places.

Our Utah Parks Company Tour
Visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument seemed like the perfect “dry run”  camping trip to test our sage brushing (1920s term for car camping) skills. Although this tour technically came after the 1920 National Park to Park Highway tour, it included some major sites that we did not want to miss on our adventure.

On May 30th we’ll set off with our Woom Bikes and Burley Bike Trailer for some biking on Zion National Park’s Pa’rus trail. We’ll be hiking Navajo Trail and Queen’s Loop in Bryce National Park and enjoying a Star Party at Cedar Breaks National Monument. And we’ll be letting you know how it goes every step of the way.

You can travel along with us by signing up for our newsletter. We’d love to have you along for the ride on our National Park to Park Highway Tour. What’s more, we want your input on what adventures we should include. Do you have a favorite hike or bike ride in one of the National Parks on our route? What adventures do you recommend? Leave a comment or contact me on instagramtwitter or facebook. We’d love to hear from you!

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

2 thoughts on “Stage 1: National Park to Park Highway Tour”

  1. This is an exciting plan.
    Some National Park bike experiences.

    In Zion, where you have to park and take the shuttle, you can also take bikes. Its a great ride with a gradual incline to the end of the road in the heart of the canyon. On the way out it is casual coasting as you enjoy the natures of the canyon on a bike.

    I have also ridden a bike through the Redwoods. Its fun to see the redwoods from a bike because their is no roof and you can experience the trees and the beauty without being cooped up in a car. Great national park memories on bikes.
    Finally, as you leave Yellowstone and go to Jenny lake in the tetons, it is a perfect bike ride. It is mostly going down hill that direction. The scenery is spectacular and to experience it on bike is to to be enveloped in nature. Moving along without the confines of a car. great memories.
    I look forward to joining you for a few days on your National Park adventure.

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