Side trips along the great Southwest tour
A few great places to visit while touring the Southwest:
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Reachable via Utah 148, this 10,662-foot limestone amphitheater is one of the highest points on the drive. Accessible by car from Memorial Day into October. www.nps.gov/cebr or (435) 586-9451.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Brilliantly photographable scenery earned this park its name back in the 1930s. The turnoff is at Cannonville, Utah. (435) 679-8562.
Capitol Reef National Park
Our route runs along the park's lower part, but to see its main arches and cliffs, go north 34 miles on the partly unpaved Notom-Bullfrog Road from the junction with the Burr Trail Road. www.nps.gov/care or (435) 425-3791.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Lake Powell boat tours run from Wahweap or Bullfrog Marina to Rainbow Bridge National Monument. There are also 15-mile mellow Colorado River raft trips from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry. www.nps.gov/glca or (928) 608-6404.
Natural Bridges National Monument
The monument's three bridges can be visited on a 9-mile drive. 40 miles west of Blanding on Utah 95, take Utah 275 to the end. www.nps.gov/nabr or (435) 692-1234.
Valley of the Gods
Located 12 miles southwest of Bluff off Utah 163, a rough, 17-mile road takes you into a landscape similar to Monument Valley. (435) 587-1500.
Goosenecks State Park
Stunning overlook of the San Juan River canyon. From Utah 261, take Utah 316 about 3 miles to parking. (435) 678-2238.
Navajo National Monument
Betatakin Ruins is accessible on ranger-led 5-mile round-trip tours. Trips run once a day from late May through September and are first come, first served; try to be at the monument by 7:30 a.m. From U.S. 160, take Arizona 564 9 miles north. www.nps.gov/nava or (928) 672-2700.
Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park
Two beautiful canyons actually: The lower canyon demands rock scrambling. The upper canyon is easier to explore but requires a guided tour (around $27). Don't miss the John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum (closed Sun; $2; 6 N. Lake Powell Blvd., Page; www.powellmuseum.org or 928/645-9496). Antelope Canyon entrance on Arizona 98 about 3 miles east of Page. $6 per person park entry. (928) 698-2808 or www.navajonationparks.org
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Within vivid sandstone cliffs, Paria Canyon offers good hiking (call for a permit); also visit the site where California condors have been released. (435) 688-3200.