As we travel around the US, we really enjoy engaging in conversation with natives so that like to explore their local area. We have found that we can uncover some gems that are not on travel guides or top 10 spots. But, they deliver great value and enjoyment. We recently came across one such native who told us about Mesa Road.
On the way to Zion National Park, a place that millions know about, you will pass through the town of Virgin, Utah. This booming metropolis has a population of almost 600 people. Basically, if you blink, you may miss it. Well, right in the middle of this town is a thoroughfare called Mesa Road. It is a little two lane road that seems like you are going to a small farm and that is about it. I guess that is why it is a well-kept secret.
As you are heading to Zion National Park, on State Route 9 out of La Verkin, Mesa Road will be in the left side of the road just as you enter the town. Make a left and proceed onward and upward. Mesa Road will take you up and along a mesa, like the name denotes. On the top of the mesa directly above and to the left is the Air Force Proving Grounds. This is restricted space and you are not allowed to enter.
However, if you follow Mesa Road along the narrow, windy pathway to the top, you will experience some views that are breathtaking along the way. This includes one rock that we thought looked like a face.
And, as you get to the top, you will come to a point where it says “Do Not Enter” if you try to go straight and you will be forced to turn right. Going straight is the entrance to the Air Force Proving Grounds. We were told that if we followed this road, we would eventually come to a point where we could experience one of the best views of Zion National Park from on high. We headed down the road and it was filled with ruts and deep mud at spots. If you do not have four-wheel drive, do not try this.
We eventually came to a spot where we saw a local guy who tried to go forward and he came back. He said the mud was too deep and fierce to proceed. So, we turned around. However, we are exploring, adventure driven Nomads. We couldn’t just leave it at that. So, we found a spot to pull off onto a small side dirt road and decided to hike in.
We seriously took a road less traveled. We saw some dirt bike and ATV tracks. But not many foot prints or car tracks. We hiked about a mile and a half or so in. While hiking in, we came to the edge of mesas, came across washes where gushes of water flow through and create waterfalls when it rains as well as tracks of wildlife. We saw fantastic views of the peaks of Zion National Park and we did so with no crowds.
We are told that they do grate the main road from time to time and that should allow for regular cars to journey all the way to the lookout point we were told about. But, even if they do not, you can still make it to the dirt road pull off that we went to and experience great views. Just bring water and some hiking boots. Safe Travels.