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Tribune Choice: Enjoy Highway 12's variety

Published June 28, 2013 8:13 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Winner

Highway 12 • Few paved roads in the world can match this 122-mile southern Utah gem that has earned the honor of being designated an "All-American Road." The drive connects U.S. 89 just south of Panguitch with Utah Highway 24 in Torrey. In its wandering, it passes through Red Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, Anasazi State Park, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, the Boulder Mountain and the tiny towns of Bryce Canyon, Tropic, Cannonville, Henrieville, Escalante and Grover. What's most impressive, though, is the variety of scenery that can be viewed in the recommended four-hour drive. Travelers can camp, bike, hike and learn about history while traveling through the fluorescent beauty of Bryce and Red Canyon, the slickrock of the Escalante Canyons and the alpine splendor of the Boulder Mountain.

First runner-up

Mirror Lake Highway (Utah 150 from Kamas to the Utah/Wyoming border) • A summer is just not complete without making the 55-mile journey (along with an additional 23 miles on the Wyoming side) that passes alpine lakes, campgrounds and High Uintas wilderness trailheads and peaks at 10,687-foot Bald Mountain Pass.

Second runner-up

Utah Highway 95 (Blanding to Hanksville) • This remote 164-mile road called both the Bicentennial Highway and the Trail of the Ancients leads past Natural Bridges National Monument, over the Colorado River on the northern edge of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and through some of the most rugged Bureau of Land Management country in the West.