Potash Scenic Drive


  • On the Potash Scenic Drive
  • On the Potash Scenic Drive
  • At Gold Bar Campsite, on the Potash Scenic Drive
  • View at Gold Bar Campsite on the Potash Scenic Drive
  • On the Potash Scenic Drive
  • On the Potash Scenic Drive
  • Near the potash mine on the Potash Scenic Drive
  • On the Potash Scenic Drive
  • Notice the guy in the kayak on the river against the backdrop
  • Near the potash mine on the Potash Scenic Drive
  • From the end of the Potash Scenic Drive
  • Climbers along the side of the Potash Scenic Drive
On the Potash Scenic Drive

Utah Highway 279 is the Potash Scenic Drive. This 17-mile route runs downstream along the Colorado River from just north of Moab (across the street from the entrance to Arches National Park). Along the way are several panels of prehistoric Native American petroglyphs with many individual carvings of animals and anthropomorphs. There is also a display of dinosaur tracks beside the road and three natural stone arches (Corona Arch, Bow Tie Arch and Jug Handle Arch). The scenic byway itself ends at the end of the pavement but the 4WD Potash Road and 4WD Long Canyon Road both continue into the back country and eventually connect to roads in Dead Horse Point State Park and the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park.

The road was built in 1963 to service the Texas Gulf Sulphur Company potash mine and plant that was being built at Cane Creek. A spur line of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was built at the same time to the same place. While the highway stayed along the side of the serpentine river, the train tracks pass through a 1.59-mile tunnel through the rock. Shortly after the road was opened to traffic in 1963, it was designated one of the most beautiful highways in America.

Bootlegger Canyon
Bootlegger Canyon, up the Corona Arch Trail
Looking down on the Colorado River from Dead Horse Point State Park
The river west of Potash, from Dead Horse Point State Park
Slideshow photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 3.0 License
Upper left photo courtesy of Davemeistermoab, CCA-by-SA 3.0 License
Lower photo courtesy of AE Crane via Byways.org
Bottom photo courtesy of Mike Neilson, CCA-by-SA 2.0 License