Scenic Utah Byway 12 from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef

Car and Driver rated it among ten most scenic highways, Forbes as one of America's best snowy drives, and Backpacker magazine as a favorite Wild Road.
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Utah Route 12

Utah Route 12 by Wolfgang Staudt via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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.

SR-12 as seen from the Head of the Rocks overlook by Larry Vensel [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

SR-12 as seen from the Head of the Rocks overlook by Larry Vensel. (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/photos/53821) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

Hellish 27-mile Bypass from Boulder to Escalante

Hell's Backbone Bridge by Jason J. Corneveaux [Creative Commons] via Wikimedia Commons.

Hell's Backbone Bridge by Jason J. Corneveaux [Creative Commons] via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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