A State Road With Impressive Ratings

  • Rated one of the ten most scenic highways in the nation by Car and Driver Magazine
  • Named by Forbes as one of America's best snowy drives
  • Named by Backpacker magazine as a favorite Wild Roads

Scenic Byway 12 has it all: isolated canyons, grand plateaus that rise 9,000-feet above sea level, deep valleys that plunge to 4,000-feet and the natural and man-made history to prove it. This 124-mile byway is one of the most scenic in the nation and Utah's first All American Road takes you from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef.

Utah Route 12 near Kiva Koffeehouse in Grand Staircase-Escalante

Utah Route 12 near Kiva Koffeehouse in Grand Staircase-Escalante

Locals say you can do it in three hours or three days. Others say it will take three years to fully take advantage of all it has to offer. The Henry Mountains are to the south and home to the country's only free roaming bison. On the way out, take a break at Head of the Rocks Overlook to catch the pastel hills and dales.

Stop at these natural attractions along the route (from west to east).

  • Red Canyon
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Kodachrome State Park
  • Dixie National Forest
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  • Escalante State Park
  • Calf Creek Recreation Area
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Anasazi State Park Museum
  • Boulder Mountain
  • Capitol Reef National Park

Hellish 27-mile Bypass from Boulder to Escalante

Hell's Backbone Bridge

Hell's Backbone Bridge

Hell's Backbone Road is a high-country alternative to the paved Utah Scenic Byway 12, which also connects Boulder and Escalante, 27 road miles apart. From late spring to autumn, the road, which climbs to more than 9,000 feet elevation, is easily passable by ordinary passenger vehicles, but it is very narrow and winding, and not for the faint of heart.

Related

Heading west on Highway 24 to Capitol Reef National Park

Hanksville, Utah to Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive

From Hanksville, a mining and ranching town, through the ghost town of Caineville, and on to Capitol Reef National Park, Hwy 24 will not disappoint.

On Patchwork Parkway on the way up to Brian Head Ski Resort

Patchwork Parkway Historic Scenic Drive

Pass by alpine meadows and lakes, breathtaking canyons and six different life zones rollercoastering over 4,500 feet of elevation change.

Spring sunrise in Fruita.

Capitol Reef Orchards in Fruita

It's a surprise to see orchards in the desert. The trees were planted by settlers but are now part of the park. See blossoms in spring and pick fruit in fall.

Hell's Backbone Bridge

Hell's Backbone Scenic Drive in Utah

Built to join Boulder, the last frontier town in Utah that still relied on mules to deliver the mail, with Escalante, famous for Hole-In-The-Rock Expedition.

Mt Carmel Highway in Zion

Zion Mt. Carmel Highway Scenic Drive

Hit the ten-mile stretch from the Zion entrance to Mt. Carmel, with switchbacks, slickrock and sweeping views with seasonal waterfalls.

Capitol-Reef-Park-Map_680

Official Capitol Reef National Park Map PDF

A very specific and useful map of Capitol Reef National Park showing roads, features, and entrances.

Hiker at Sunset Point looking to Castle Rock in Capitol Reef National Park

Remote Beauty in Capitol Reef Country

Take in Utah’s stunning color palette in and around Capitol Reef National Park.

The Hickman Natural Bridge in Capitol Reef National Park

Natural Rock Arches in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park has over 20 natural arches including the most famous one, Hickman Natural Bridge.

The white domes of the Navajo formation are stop #10 on the Capitol Reef scenic drive.

Perfect Day in Capitol Reef National Park

Known for its incredible red-rock formations and its fruit orchard, Capitol Reef National Park is a fantastic place to spend a day or more exploring.