Utah Scenic Drives: Scenic Highway 12

Highlights of Scenic Highway 12

©Byways.org Stone arches like this one in Bryce Canyon are visible along Utah's
┬ęByways.org Stone arches like this one in Bryce Canyon are visible along Utah's

Spanning a route of more than 120 miles, Utah's Scenic Highway 12 travels through some of the most diverse and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. The surrounding red rock formations, slickrock canyons, pine and aspen forests, alpine mountains, national and state parks, and quaint rural towns all contribute in making Highway 12 a unique route well worth traveling.

This tour starts in the vicinity of Bryce Canyon on the western end of the byway.

Bryce Canyon National Park: Follow Highway 12 east from the intersection of U.S. 89. At State Route 63, turn south into Bryce Canyon National Park, a 56-square-mile area filled with colorful, fantastic cliffs and pinnacles created by millions of years of erosion.

Kodachrome Basin State Park: Highway 12 then leads east to Kodachrome Basin State Park, which contains strange, vividly colored stone pinnacles, believed to be ancient fossilized geysers.

Escalante State Park: Continuing east on Highway 12, the next stop is Escalante State Park, a petrified forest with mineralized wood and dinosaur bones. The park also has a reservoir for swimming, fishing, and boating (with ramps) as well as hiking trails, picnicking, bird-watching, and camping.

Anasazi Indian Village State Park: Highway 12 now swings north toward the town of Boulder. Near Boulder is the Anasazi Indian Village State Park, including a partially excavated village with museum. Probably occupied by Fremont and Kayenta Anasazi Indians from A.D. 1050 to 1200, it was one of the largest ancient communities west of the Colorado River. Picnic areas are available.

Capitol Reef National Park: Off the northeastern end of A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway is 378-square-mile Capitol Reef National Park (the visitor center is located along State Route 24, which leads east off Highway 12). Here, red sandstone cliffs are capped with domes of white sandstone. A 25-mile round-trip scenic drive leads through the park.

The name of this drive really says it all -- you'll feel like one of yesterday's explorers, traveling through the lands of ancient peoples on Utah's Scenic Highway 12.

Find more useful information related to Utah's Scenic Highway 12:

Find more useful information related to Utah's Scenic Highway 12:

  • Utah Scenic Drives: Scenic Highway 12 is just one of the scenic byways in Utah. Check out the others.
  • Bryce, Escalante, Boulder, Torrey: Find out what there is to do in these cities along Utah's Scenic Highway 12.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Utah? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.