home Parks, USA Grand Circle Travel in the Southwest USA

Grand Circle Travel in the Southwest USA

Photo: Ron Mader, Downtown Las Vegas Mural

The Grand Circle is a 1,400-mile loop encompassing parts of the southwestern USAArizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado.

Google Maps

The route connects eight national parks – Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Arches and Mesa Verde – and national monuments, recreation areas, state parks, historic sites, and attractions.

History: the term “Grand Circle Tour” was introduced in the 1920s by the Union Pacific Railroad to market a multi-day trips to natural wonders and national parks. The offer was very popular and contributed to the tourist development of the region. Afterwards, car trips were marketed as well.

Historically, the Grand Circle is a National Scenic Byway, a national program established in 1991 to conserve significant secondary roads of historical, cultural, or scenic value.

Planeta.com continues to revisit favorite places and people along the route. Suggestions are welcome as we update our place-based guides (linked below).


  • What is the history of the Grand Circle?
  • How does the Grand Circle today differ from 50 years ago? 100?
  • What are upcoming events of interest?

Shadows at the entrance of Chaco Culture







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