Utah designates a new scenic byway; move may drive up tourism in Morgan

The scenic route between Interstate 84 and Interstate 80 is now Utah’s 28th official scenic byway.

The Utah State Scenic Byways Committee approved the new Morgan-Parleys Scenic Byway designation Monday. It will stretch from Interstate 84 in Morgan along State Route 66 to East Canyon Reservoir, and from there along State Route 66 to Interstate 80 at Mountain Dell Reservoir.

The designation will prevent billboards and some development to protect scenic views. It also will make the route eligible for funding that could lead to some widening to better accommodate bicyclists, runners and cars that now share the rural road.

The designation also will be shown on a variety of state maps, which could boost tourism there.

“It is one of the prettiest routes in the state” as it winds through canyons, farmland and forests, said Stephen Lyon, economic development director of Morgan County. It also follows part of three historic trails: the Mormon, California and Pony Express trails.

“We’d really like to preserve and protect the legacy, and also utilize this to bring in the tourist dollars that we’re starting to see,” he said. “What the county is trying to do is preserve the rural character of that road” as the area grows.

He added, “We’re trying to recruit in a hotel right now. We think that will help us.” Morgan has no hotel, he said, even though it is on I-84.

Lyon said the scenic route already is popular, and hosts 36 races and events a year — from marathons to bike tours. “We figured this will help identify it as a recreation area,” and possibly help win some funding for needed widening to safely accommodate runners and bikers.

A list and map of all of Utah’s scenic byways is available online at travel.utah.gov.

Other byways in the state range from Zion Park Scenic Byway in the south to Logan Canyon Scenic Byway in the north, and Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway in the east to Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway in the west.