Utah Stories

Discover the Beauty of Scenic Byway 12

Utah is home to many scenic roads, one of the most beautiful is Scenic Byway 12.


America is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and breathtaking scenery in the world, and there’s no better way to take in these spectacular sights than by taking off on a road trip. From the iconic Route 66, beginning in the windy city of Chicago and ending up in Santa Monaco, Los Angeles to the Pacific Coast Highway which covers the entire California coastline, residents and visitors alike are spoilt for choice when deciding where to embark on their next grand adventure.

In this article, we’ll focus on one of the most scenic roads in the U.S., giving it the distinction of an ‘All-American Road’.  Recognized for its beauty and exceptional natural, cultural, historic, and recreational qualities, Scenic Byway 12 is one road that shouldn’t be missed.

Starting Out

This remarkable route spans approximately 123 miles, winding its way through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state. From towering red rock canyons to verdant forests and picturesque small towns, Scenic Byway 12 epitomizes the splendor of the American Southwest. 

Starting in the town of Panguitch in southern Utah, Scenic Byway 12 takes you on a journey through diverse terrain and unique geological formations. As you leave Panguitch, you’ll soon find yourself entering the majestic, red-hued cliffs of the Red Canyon and towering Ponderosa pines. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

Continuing along the byway, you’ll arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park, a true gem of the Southwest. Famous for its intricate and awe-inspiring pillars of rock, or hoodoos, that rise from the canyon floor, consider taking a hike along one of the many trails that wind through the amphitheaters, offering unparalleled views and photo opportunities.

Grand Staircase-Escalante

Moving further along Scenic Byway 12, you’ll encounter the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This expansive and rugged wilderness area encompasses a vast expanse of geological wonders where you can witness towering cliffs and marvel at the vivid colors that adorn the rocks.

Boulder Mountain

As you continue eastward, the byway leads you through the small town of Boulder. Nestled in a valley surrounded by dramatic cliffs and mountains, Boulder is a charming stop along the route. Boulder Mountain is the most prominent and scenic mountain range in this area. Known for its expansive forests, high alpine meadows, and numerous lakes and streams, this route offers stunning views of the mountain range as you drive along the byway.

As you embark on this unforgettable journey, don’t forget to make time to immerse yourself in the natural wonders along the byway. Consider camping under the starlit sky, or simply pause to breathe in the tranquility and beauty that surrounds you. Younger travelers on Scenic Byway 12 can also get a good night’s sleep at https://www.hotelicopter.com/youths/utah/ before continuing their journey through the captivating landscapes of southern Utah.

Capitol Reef National Park

The journey along Scenic Byway 12 culminates in the town of Torrey, near Capitol Reef National Park. This area is known for its remarkable rock formations, colorful cliffs, and orchards that thrive in the fertile valley. Take some time to explore the park, hike along its scenic trails, and discover the unique history and geology that make Capitol Reef a must-visit destination.

From its dramatic vistas to its ever-changing landscapes, Scenic Byway 12 is an unforgettable road trip that can be completed in just three hours.

Image from Unsplash.

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