Utah’s Patchwork Parkway weaves through a patchwork of geologic formations, forests, streams, lakes,heritage cultures, wildlife and wildflowers, capped by the breathtaking views of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Beginning at an elevation of 5,990 feet in Parowan, the road climbs to Mammoth Summit, the highest point along the highway, at just over 10,400 feet, before descending to around 6,600 feet in Panguitch.
Travelers on this occasionally steep and twisting roadway shouldn’t choose this route as a speedy path to distant places. Because of areas with steep grades, the drive may take one and a half hours or longer,depending on the explorer’s ventures along this scenic drive. Snow tires or chains are advised during winter months and the road is not plowed at night. Because of 13% grades and some sharp switchbacks, large trailers are not recommended from Parowan Canyon to Brian Head. The plateau top is accessible for travel trailers from Panguitch to the east.
Utah’s Patchwork Parkway offers new sights and adventures at nearly every twist and turn. Travelers encounter archeological sites, cultural events and activities,historical sites and structures, natural and geologic wonders, recreational opportunities and scenic beauty. State Route 143 received State Scenic Byway designation in 1989 and National Forest Byway designation in 2000. In 2002 local stakeholders began to plan for the future of this resource and pursue additional federal designation.
•1850s: Wagon roads follow Native American trails onto the plateau inorder to access timber.
•1960’s: Roadway improved and paved to its existing cross section.
•1989: State of Utah designates Highway 143 a Scenic Byway.
A Combination of Public & Private Lands
Utah’s Patchwork Parkway traverses privately owned holdings inside of established communities; public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and National Park Service; and private recreational and ranching lands outside of incorporated communities. Approximately 34 percent of the route crosses private lands. The remaining 66 percent is divided between the Forest Service (44%), Bureau of Land Management (19%) and Cedar Breaks National Monument (3%). The existence oft he scenic byway corridor along or across private lands does not imply or grant any rights to public access.
The corridor is defined by the ridge lines bordering Parowan Canyon, lines of sight atop the plateau, and the ridge lines along South Canyon leading into Panguitch.
Winter Driving along Highway 143
In addition to snow tires or chains recommended during winter months, snowfall and blowing snow result in occasional road closures especially atop the plateau. StateRoute 148 that connects Utah’s Patchwork Parkway (SR143) through Cedar Breaks National Monument to State Route 14 regularly closes for winter from first heavy snow in late fall until mid to late spring. Heavy snowfall and strong winds across the mountaintop sometimes necessitates closing Utah’s Patchwork Parkway between the town of Brian Head and the Mammoth Creek roadin the interest of public safety. UDOT crews diligently strive to keep the road open, but it may take a day or two for the weather to calm and the snow to be cleared from the road. And while the sun may be shining in the valleys, the weather can be very different on top.