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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|Image from desertpearl.com/en/story/history|
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.
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