Scenic Byway 12: Utah’s Captivating 124-Mile Drive

Scenic Byway 12

Scenic Byway 12, is an extraordinary 124-mile stretch in the core of Utah. The road has earned its position among the world’s most stunning and visually striking drives. This road links Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park and offers a unique blend of natural splendor, geological marvels, and cultural attractions that are bound to enthrall any traveler.

Where is Byway 12 located?

Byway 12 is located in southern Utah, running through the heart of the state’s red rock country. The byway begins in the town of Panguitch, near Bryce Canyon National Park. It ends in the town of Torrey, near Capitol Reef National Park. Along the way, the road passes through a variety of landscapes, including high desert plateaus, deep canyons, and towering mountains.

Enlarge the map

What makes Scenic Byway 12 special?

Byway 12 in Utah is one of the most scenic drives in the United States and for good reason. The road offers travelers a unique opportunity to experience Utah’s vast natural beauty up close. Indeed, the road is full of stunning views and geological wonders at every corner.

As one of the main attractions along the byway, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument attracts visitors from all over the world. It is a vast zone that spans more than 1.9 million acres. The monument has a diverse array of geological features, such as towering cliffs, deep canyons, and vivid rock formations.

Another must-see destination along the byway is Bryce Canyon National Park, which is famous for its distinctive hoodoo rock formations and breathtaking vistas. The park offers a range of hiking trails and scenic overlooks, allowing visitors to explore the area’s natural wonders in depth.

What are the driving conditions like on Byway 12?

While Scenic Byway 12 is a beautiful drive, it can also be challenging at times. The road is narrow and winding, with steep drop-offs and sharp turns. Be prepared for changing weather conditions, including snow and ice in the winter months.

Although the road presents some challenges, it is generally well-maintained and provides ample opportunities for travelers to pause and appreciate the surroundings. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the journey rather than rushing through.

How to get to Scenic Byway 12?

Visitors typically reach Byway 12 by driving to one of the nearby towns, such as Panguitch or Torrey, and then following the signs to the byway. The road is easily accessible from major highways, including Interstate 15 and Highway 89.

You can have a preview of the itinerary on the map below :

What to do along Byway 12?

Along Scenic Byway 12, there is plenty to see and do, from hiking and camping to sightseeing and photography.

  • Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its unique hoodoo rock formations and many hiking trails and scenic overlooks, is one of the most popular attractions along the byway.
  • Explore Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s perplexing wonders, where deep canyons and towering cliffs beckon the daring.
  • Immerse yourself in Capitol Reef National Park’s captivating tapestry of colorful rock formations, scenic drives, and abundant hiking trails and camping sites.
  • Discover Kodachrome Basin State Park’s extraordinary geological features, which include vibrant rock formations, spires, and arches that will take your breath away.
  • Drive other cool roads in Utah such as the Shafer Canyon Road or the Moki Dugway.
  • Step into the past at Anasazi State Park Museum and gain intriguing insights into the lives and culture of the Anasazi people, who thrived over 1,000 years ago.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

Is Byway 12 open?

Before embarking on a journey along Byway 12, visitors should check for any road closures or restrictions. The road is typically open year-round but may be closed during periods of heavy snow or other inclement weather.

Always keep in mind that road conditions can quickly change due to weather, accidents, or other factors. So, before you embark on your journey, always double-check. Also, be aware that the campsites can’t be open all year-round

Preview of the road :

Prepare for an unforgettable journey along Scenic Byway 12, Utah’s remarkable route showcasing awe-inspiring landscapes. To catch a glimpse of this extraordinary drive and gather itinerary inspiration, check out this YouTube video.

In conclusion, Scenic Byway 12 is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Utah’s red rock country. With stunning vistas, unique geological formations, and a rich cultural heritage, the byway offers travelers a unique opportunity to experience the state’s natural wonders up close. Whether you’re a hiker, photographer, or simply a lover of the great outdoors, Scenic Byway 12 is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Credits: By Wolfgang Staudt from Saarbruecken, Germany – Scenic Byway 12, CC BY 2.0, / By W. Bulach – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Discover our other roads in Italy: click here or see our road map!