This is 122.863 miles (to be exact) of pure driving bliss. Welcome to Utah’s Scenic Byway 12, also known as “A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.” What’s more, this stretch of pavement is also designated an All-American Road. Only one-third of America’s scenic byways get this distinction, and it’s given because these roads offer unique features that you can’t find elsewhere making these byways tourist destinations unto themselves.
This is one pretty epic road. Hit the pedal straight through to the various geological oddities along the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or check out the many other stops along the way. Scenic Byway 12 begins to the west in Panguitch and ends in Torrey to the northeast. It connects Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks, and, of course, brings visitors to a number of other amazing destinations along the way.
What Makes it Great
The sheer diversity of geography is incredible and unique to Utah and the United States. Scenic Byway 12 affords access to a number of national parks, state parks, national monuments, scenic overlooks, and plenty of great restaurants and shops. You can enjoy the highway over the course of your vacation as you make stops along the way, or you can drive the entire expanse in one 65 m.p.h. whirlwind of beauty in a day.
What You’ll Remember
As you proceed east from Panguitch, you’ll enjoy driving through the two red arches in Red Canyon. Then, you’ll be in awe as you lay witness to the actual “stairs” in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument just past Henrieville—a different color of sandstone to the north and to the south. Along the “Hogsback” between Escalante and Boulder, hairpin turns dare you on a road that drops off drastically from the shoulders down into deep canyons below. You’ll yet again change geography as you traverse through the aspen and pine groves, and meadowlands of Boulder Mountain before finally heading back to the desert near Capitol Reef. Don’t worry, there are plenty of pull-offs and scenic overlooks so you don’t have to take pictures while driving (not recommended).
Who is Going to Love It
People with eyes. And loved ones who don’t mind you saying “wow” a thousand times over the course of the 122-mile drive.
GPS Coordinates, Parking, and Regulations
Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 begins in Panguitch in the west and ends in Torrey to the northeast. It can be enjoyed by driving either east or west—or both, multiple times. The road is open year-round, but after major winter storms, sections might be impassible until plowed, and ice can make some sections white-knucklers. There are no fees to drive on Highway 12, although some destinations and attractions along the way—off of the highway—have an entrance fee. Feel free to bring a dog, but most areas and trails along the highway require the pup to be on leash.
More info: www.scenicbyway12.com