Utah’s Scenic Byway 12, a spectacular 124-mile paved highway that runs between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks was just rated by Foxnews.com as one of the World’s Top 10 Scenic Drives, coming in at number number two. Read the story!
From Torrey to Panguitch, Scenic Byway 12 leads through a beautiful and varied landscape of red rock formations, cliffs, deep slot canyons, high timbered plateaus, and lush alpine forests as you cruise along at elevations ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 feet. View an area map.
The byway winds through a recreational paradise of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, canyoneering, and rock climbing opportunities. Geological, archaeological, historical, and recreational wonders await in the small towns along the highway, and in the three state parks, two national parks, national forest, and national monument. There are seven official visitor information centers along Scenic Byway 12, also known as Utah’s first All-American Road, and interpretive panels located at points of interest along the highway.
Some of the best-known destinations along Scenic Byway 12 include Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks, Red Canyon, The Blues/Powell Point Overlook, Upper Valley Graineries, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Head of the Rocks Overlook, Boynton Overlook, Escalante River Trailhead, Calf Creek Recreation Area, The Hogback, Anasazi State Park, and Homestead Overlook. From Escalante to Boulder, Scenic Byway 12 runs through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, one of the most rugged and remote places in the U.S.
There’s a lot to see along Scenic Byway 12, and the sometimes isolated stretches make for some pretty impressive views. The byway winds through the vast, slickrock Escalante Canyons area, including Calf Creek Canyon and the slightly terrifying Hogsback, a narrow ridge with steep drops—and magnificent views—on both sides. Head of the Rocks offers expansive views stretching as far as the eye can see. Hole-in-the-Rock Road and the Burr Trail can be reached via spur roads off Scenic Byway 12. The Hell’s Backbone spur road cuts through Dixie National Forest.
Boulder, Utah is home to the Anasazi State Park Museum, and is definitely worth a look. North of Boulder, Scenic Byway 12 crosses Boulder Mountain (on the Aquarius Plateau, the highest timbered plateau in North America), where you’ll find great fishing, camping, and hiking. You’ll get spectacular views of Capitol Reef National Park, the Henry Mountains, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Circle Cliffs. On a clear day you can see for more than 100 miles, especially from the 9,400-foot-high vantage point of Homestead Overlook.
Just before Torrey, the Wildcat Guard Station is a quaint log building constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. At the end of Scenic Byway 12, Torrey is the gateway to Capitol Reef National Park where you’ll find canyons, natural arches, and hiking galore. The park is largely defined by the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile geologic “wrinkle” in the earth’s crust.
As noted by FoxNews.com, “Sometimes, it’s not about the destination, but the journey.” So hop in the car and head down Scenic Byway 12 for a scenic drive you won’t forget! Read the story on FoxNews.com