Utah’s Scenic Byway 12

Journey Through Red Rock Country

Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 is a marvel of natural beauty, a ribbon of road that winds through some of the most stunning landscapes the American Southwest has to offer. Stretching approximately 124 miles from Capitol Reef National Park to the outskirts of Bryce Canyon National Park, this route, also known as “A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway,” offers travelers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of red rock formations, high desert vistas, and lush forested plateaus. As a travel writer with a love for the great outdoors and the open road, traversing Scenic Byway 12 was an adventure into the heart of Utah’s unparalleled wilderness.

Embracing the Journey on Scenic Byway 12

Scenic Byway 12 is more than just a road; it’s a passage through millions of years of geological history, a path that connects the grandeur of Utah’s national parks with the rugged beauty of its state parks and the remote allure of its vast wilderness areas. This byway invites travelers to embark on a journey of discovery, to explore the untamed landscapes that have captivated adventurers, artists, and seekers for generations.

Best Times to Visit

The beauty of Scenic Byway 12 can be enjoyed year-round, but the best times to visit are during the spring and fall months. During these seasons, the weather is mild, making outdoor activities such as hiking, photography, and camping particularly enjoyable. Summer brings warmer temperatures and the monsoon season, which can offer dramatic cloud formations and cooler evenings, while winter presents the majestic beauty of snow-capped landscapes, with some areas becoming more challenging to access.

Highlights Along Scenic Byway 12

  • Bryce Canyon National Park: Known for its unique hoodoos, Bryce Canyon is a natural amphitheater of red rock spires that are especially stunning at sunrise and sunset.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: This vast monument features canyons, plateaus, and waterfalls, offering endless exploration for those willing to venture off the beaten path.
  • Calf Creek Falls: A moderate hike leads to this spectacular 126-foot waterfall, an oasis in the desert that’s perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot day.
  • Kodachrome Basin State Park: With its colorful rock formations and spires, Kodachrome Basin is a photographer’s dream, particularly in the golden light of early morning or late afternoon.
  • Hell’s Backbone: This stretch of road offers breathtaking views of the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness and the surrounding mountains, with several overlooks that provide perfect photo opportunities.

Dining and Lodging with Local Charm

  • Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm: Located in Boulder, this restaurant offers farm-to-table dishes inspired by the local landscape, emphasizing organic and regional ingredients.
  • Boulder Mountain Lodge: Situated in the heart of Grand Staircase-Escalante, this lodge provides a peaceful retreat with easy access to the adventures that await on Scenic Byway 12.
  • Kiva Koffeehouse: Perched on a cliff with panoramic views, this coffeehouse is a must-stop for travelers seeking refreshment and awe-inspiring vistas.

Navigating Scenic Byway 12

Traveling Scenic Byway 12 is an experience that demands time and attention. The road itself, with its twists, turns, and elevation changes, requires careful driving, especially on sections like the Hogback, where the road narrows with steep drop-offs on either side. Stopping at visitor centers, such as the Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder, can provide valuable insights into the area’s history and culture, enhancing the journey.

In Conclusion

Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 is a testament to the enduring beauty of the natural world, offering a journey that is both awe-inspiring and humbling. This byway not only connects some of Utah’s most magnificent landscapes but also offers travelers a pathway to deeper connection with the environment and themselves. Whether you’re drawn by the call of the wild, the pursuit of adventure, or the quest for tranquility, Scenic Byway 12 in Utah promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of red rock country.

Sign Up For A List of Events

Oh sure, you could come back here week after week to look for a list of car stuff to do, but why bother?

Our Basic email program is simple: Just tell us the State where you live, and we’ll send you a list of the events in that state. Simple.  And if that’s too many events (which is possible) you can opt for our Premium email program which is designed to send you a list of only those events withing 30, 60, 90 or 120 miles of your zip code.

That should leave you plenty of time to polish the car.