Readers' Choice Scenic Drive: Zion ride is short and sweet

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Zion National Park • As scenic drives go, the 12-mile Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway is relatively short. But it certainly packs in plenty of scenery and adventure. The even shorter drive up the main Zion Canyon requires boarding a shuttle much of the year unless you have reservations to stay at the lodge. The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway that connects the eastern and southern entrances to the national park offers viewpoints of Checkerboard Mesa, a ride through tunnels carved out of sandstone and an exciting trip down switchbacks. Stopping on the east side of the tunnels to take the short hike to the Canyon Overlook is memorable. The main Zion Canyon Road, where the shuttles operate except in winter, provides views of classic formations such as The Great White Throne, The Sentinel, the Altar of Sacrifice, Angels Landing and the Court of the Patriarchs.

First runner-up

Alpine Loop • This narrow 24-mile road gains 3,000 feet in elevation as it connects American Fork and Provo canyons.

Second runner-up

Highway 12 • (See Editors' Choice.)