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“A drive through Planet of the Apes landscape”

Smokey Mountain Road
Leesburg, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
122 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“A drive through Planet of the Apes landscape”
Reviewed June 19, 2014

Our first time here was short, se we returned on another trip so we could drive farther, Cars are fine if it has not been raining.The road is not crowded so you can stop for pictures without problems. Much of the road is flat, though there are a few climbs with switchbacks.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank Caga3124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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13 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great views”
Reviewed June 11, 2014

This is a very long, dusty, and rough road but the views will make it worthwhile. Not recommended to travel alone and carry lots of water in case of breakdown. Be prepared as there isn't much ttraffic on this road and you may not see another vehicle for the entire length of the road. This road takes you from Escalante down to the lower part of Powell Lake and the town of Big Water. There is fuel available in Big Water at the marina/convenience store. Store closes early, but the pumps are open 24 hours a day.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Mike S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Escalante, Utah, United States
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Not For The Faint of Heart”
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Smokey Mountain Road is an unimproved and little maintained road from Escalante to Big Water. You'll need high-clearance 4wd in a couple of sections - otherwise a standard auto could get through. Just don't try it when it's wet - there are two sections of the road that puddle and become impassable with quicksand. Tows are very expensive so don't go if you're not sure.

Visited September 2012
2 Thank GalleryEscalante
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Utah
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“I live near here.”
Reviewed November 18, 2012

This is a mostly rough and sometimes washboard road. Unless there has been a complete drought in the winter, I suggest you stay off of it then. it can also wash out badly and leave you stranded if heavy rain, with no good place to turn around. I'd give it a pass - the scenery is better from the highway anyway. Unless you were using it as a remote access point to an overlook over Lake Powell (for the hardy only).

Visited November 2012
3 Thank j k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Smoky Mountain Road”
Reviewed July 12, 2012

We have been on this road a number of times but have not seen it in about 4 years. The road runs from Escalante and will get you south to near Big Water, which is near Page. Check with the interagency visitor center in Escalante to be sure the road is open.

This is just my opinion, I am no expert but here are my thoughts.

Do NOT go on this road:
>If is its raining - even lightly
>without water
>without the means to surviive for several days if lost or stuck
>without maps, GPS, compass and some navigation skills
>without a high clearance vehicle. with spare tire, preferably full sized.
We have used a Chevy S10, a Ford Explorer, a Ford Escape all 4WD and all stock.

Go slow and don't wreck your ride, it would be easy to do and I understand it is very expensive to drag a broken vehicle out of here. We have been stuck on this road for a day or two because when bentonite clay gets wet, it is virtually undrivable even with 4WD. We had water, food and camping equipment, so it was no big deal.

The main attraction to me of this road is its remoteness. Several times we have driven the road and not seen another vehicle for the entire trip. You can stop anywhere and probably hike to some very interesting terrain and or view points, but you really do not even have to get out of the car to enjoy the trip, you will see plenty. It is not the most beautiful scenery - it is just very wild. There are coal fires at one point along the way near Big Water.

You should stop at least once along the way, turn off the car and just stand there. The silence is incredible.

As I said, my experience is 4 years out of date. I have recenlty heard the road is closed. I cannot verify this. I also believe there is always pressure from the locals to improve the road on the theory it will attract more tourists. I believe the road is subject to local jurisdiction and we have encountered county crews working on the road.

In my view, improving the road is a mistake. The value of the road is the experience of its wild character and the remoteness of the territory it runs through. Improving the road destroys that experience. When we have driven this road it has led me to think about how heroic the people who blazed and traveled these roads originally to settle this area must have been; the ranchers, the cowboys, the mormon settlers. The road is really a tribute to their toughness and persistance.

Southern Utah has so many improved roads, running through fabulously beautiful terrain that it does not need any more. Smokey Mountain road retains it uniqueness by remaining in primitive condition. You should experience this before "progess" destroys that experience.

Visited August 2011
11 Thank dave62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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