Utah’s Scenic Highway 12
Utah is a land of panoramic vistas and stunning landscapes famous for its national parks. You have to travel a great distance to see them all. And, that’s what I did on my road trip. I traveled from one natural beauty to the other. And, on my way I discovered a road that is as beautiful as my destinations.
Utah’s highway 12 is often traveled by visitors as they make their way to Bryce Canyon and this small portion of it is what most people see of the highway. On my way to Escalante, from Bryce Canyon, I passed the hoodoos of the park and then the road opened up into another landscape. One filled with farms and rimmed with mountains in the distance. The highway eventually climbs the mountain as it snakes its way up the elevated road until I reach the town of Escalante. The road flattens out around the town and eventually starts to rise again. Once you pass the Escalante River Trailhead, the incline will begin and keep an eye out for viewpoints along the road. These turnouts are a perfect vantage point as they are elevated over the canyon and provided a spectacular view.
I drove a little further and parked at one of these viewpoints. I was lucky enough to see the Lower Calf Creek Falls from a distance. In fact, I had to send my drone to get a closer look at the falls and the canyon below. I kept going up Highway 12 without any assumption of what I would see.
As the elevation climbed, the terrain changed from desert rock to forest and Autumn foliage. I was entering an area that was free range for cows and they were present alongside the road. Thankfully, they weren’t standing in the middle of the road. There are a number of viewpoints in the area as they were earlier.
The landscape was so beautiful, it was hard not to stop along side the road. I did stop at a few of these to see the Autumn foliage. I couldn’t keep myself from walking around and getting into the woods among the changing leaves. As I walked among the trees, I could hear cows in the distance.
Unfortunately, they were to far for me to capture them on camera. The landscape and the fall foliage was truly beautiful and I as extremely captivated with my drive. But, I couldn’t stay too long. I had to proceed down the highway and to Capital Reef National Park.
The level of beauty of Highway 12 was at a level that I didn’t expect and it was an experience that I didn’t anticipate. It was at an extent that equaled one of my destinations and hikes. An experience that I will truly remember and look forward to next time I’m traveling in the area.