Clearest Air in America

The Colorado Plateau is the area in Utah I have been driving for the past three days. A sign I saw today at Capitol Reef National Park stated the air of the Colorado Plateau is the clearest air in America. Though they do add the qualifier of clearest air in lower 48 states.

Average visibility has been measured at 145 miles on clear summer days.


Fruit orchards in Capitol Reef National Park maintain the heritage of historic Fruita, a 19th century Mormon settlement here. The park maintains the Gifford Farmhouse homestead near the visitor center with a house, barn, horses and fruit pies for sale to visitors.

Fremont River runs through the park as a water source for the fruit trees.

Capitol Gorge

I really could not see very far at all from the ground in Capitol Gorge at Capitol Reef National park.


Capitol Gorge hiking trail.

The park visitor center stated flash flood potential was low today. I took my chances along with about 50 other visitors.

My personal rule is I have to take a hike in each National Park I visit. Otherwise a video will give almost the same experience as sitting in a car watching the scenery pass by.

The Clear Air Cattle Test

I did see cattle crossing the road from far enough away, perhaps a mile or two, that they were well off the road by the time I reached them driving 65 mph.

This country is so rural that no fences keep cattle off the road on Scenic Highway 95 that runs east of the Henry Mountains.


Cattle crossing. These are the animals I saw crossing the road.

These rural Utah roads are definitely not roads to be driving at night as a tourist.

Some locations are about 40 miles to the nearest town.

You never know what my step in front of your vehicle.


Grazing about two feet from my car window on Utah Scenic Byway 95.

Henry Mountains

The Henry Mountains were the last mountain range in the lower 48 to be named.


Henry Mountains in eastern Utah.

After 300 miles of driving some of the most remote roads in the lower 48, I finally arrived in Colorado.


And I was greeted by evening blue skies.

350 miles more to go for BAcon tomorrow in Colorado Springs.


  • Andy May 10, 2013

    Hope you stop in Moab on the way back. Worth the bad value hotel for the beauty.

  • Aeneas May 10, 2013

    I’m really enjoying the reports of your trip. Wishing you a good time at BAcon.

  • andreas May 10, 2013

    I took this trip in December. Had a great time. This is incredible country. Have fun!

  • Pamela T May 10, 2013

    Thanks for posting. We look forward to returning this summer.

  • Charles Clarke May 10, 2013

    Open range land – where it is your responsibility to fence out, not the ranchers responsibility to fence the cattle in. Yes, caution while driving is recommended.

  • […] prominent slogans was ‘the clearest air in America’. I actually wrote a piece with the title Clearest Air in America telling how visibility averaged 145 […]

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