Sometimes it is too easy to take scenic attractions close to home for granted.
But even the most jaded and well-traveled Utah residents can’t help but be impressed every time they drive the 122-mile Utah Highway 12 that connects U.S. 89 south of Panguitch with Utah Highway 24 near Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park.
The road that encompasses the beauty of the nearly fluorescent hoodoos and spires of Bryce and Red Canyon, the slickrock sandstone of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and the alpine splendor of the Boulder Mountain was recently selected by Country magazine as one of the 10 most picturesque country drives in America.
The magazine’s most recent issue contains a special 32-page section highlighting what it calls America’s most magnificent byways.
Highway 12 was on the list that includes:
• Oregon Coast Highway
• Door County, Wisc. Coastal Byway
• Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi
• Blue Grass Valley Road in the Alleghenies
• Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana’s Glacier National Park
• Mount Desert Island Loop in Maine
• Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway in Idaho
• Alaska’s Seward Highway
• Mount Rainer’s Route 706 in Washington State
"Scenic Byway 12 runs between two of the Southwest’s most spectacular national parks — Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef," wrote the magazine editors. "The view from the main road is dominated by fire-red rock sprinkled with pinon pine and juniper. Like the parks on either end, the road seems to offer glimpses of a fantastic new world every few miles."
Country magazine bills itself as the magazine for readers who love the land and life of the countryside.
The road, part of which is cut out of sheer sandstone, winds its way through the towns of Tropic, Cannonville, Henrieville, Escalante and Boulder. Anasazi and Escalante Petrified Forest State Parks are located along the route. Red Canyon and the Boulder Mountain are managed by the U.S. Forest Service while National Park Service is in charge of Bryce Canyon and the Bureau of Land Management takes care of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
The Calf Creek Falls recreation area, hiking trail and campground is located along the route.
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