Utah’s Scenic Byway 12: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Discovering Hidden Gems Affiliate Link Disclosure

Have you ever wondered, if Scenic Byway 12 is worth driving? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

Scenic Byway 12 runs through a scenic portion of Utah, connecting a couple National Parks along the way.

There are plenty of natural wonders along the way where you can pull over and go on hikes, camp, have a picnic, or something else!

Planning A Trip? Use Our Favorite Resources Below!

?? Accommodations
?? Tours/Experiences
?? Flights
?? Car Rentals

10 Fun Places To Stop Along Scenic Byway 12

As scenic as the drive is, what also makes this drive worth it is the fun stops along the way for sightseeing and exploring.

fun places to stop along Scenic Byway 12
Google Maps

1. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is such a unique destination unlike any other in the US.

It’s most popular hiking trail can be done in just a couple of hours, but if you’re not up for that much hiking, you can also enjoy the views from the rim of the canyon.

Bryce Canyon National Park

2. Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park has a nice 1.9 mile loop trail called the Petrified Forest Nature Trail.

It’s a moderate hike that takes a little over an hour.

There is also the Wide Hollow Reservoir where you can go kayaking or boating.

3. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

There are a ton of slot canyon hikes here that are fun to do.

Some popular trails include Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch, Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon, Zebra Slot Canyon, and Coyote Gulch.

4. Escalante Natural Bridge

The trail to Escalante Natural Bridge takes about 30-45 minutes to hike.

There’s even another arch, the Skyline Arch that’s another 10 minutes beyond the Escalante Natural Bridge.

5. Lower Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls is just off of Scenic Byway 12.

The trail to the waterfall is 6 miles round trip and takes about 2 1/2 hours to complete.

The waterfall is 126 feet high and you can swim in the pool at the bottom.

It can get very busy in the Summer though, so be prepared for crowds at the waterfall.

6. Anasazi State Park And Museum

This is an ancient village that the Anasazi inhabited around 1050-1200 AD.

The museum features many artifacts that have been discovered here.

7. Boulder Mountain

Up on Boulder Mountain there are dozens of lakes that are within a 3 mile hiking trail or less.

You can go fishing, hiking, or camping in this area.

It’s one of the highest elevation areas on the drive, so expect it to be cooler here.

8. Larb Hollow Overlook

The Larb Hollow Overlook is a pullout spot along Scenic Byway 12 where you can see as far as Capitol Reef.

It’s at a pretty high elevation, so you can see for miles all around.

9. Dixie National Forest

With almost 2 million acres of land, there’s seemingly unlimited hiking trails and recreation areas.

Some popular easy trails include Alpine Pond Nature Trail, Bristlecone Pine Trail, Cascade Falls, and Cedar Canyon Walking Trail.

10. Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park is such an under-rated park compared to Utah’s other National Parks.

If you visit first thing in the morning, Gifford House sells homemade pies that are so good.

You can also camp among the apple orchards where you’ll see deer grazing all throughout the day.

Capitol Reef National Park

Tips For Driving Scenic Byway 12

Here are some additional tips for driving Scenic Byway 12.

✅ Allow Plenty Of Time For Your Drive

The byway is 122 miles long, and it can take several hours to drive it all.

✅ Be Prepared For Changes In Elevation

The byway crosses several mountain ranges, so you’ll experience a variety of weather conditions.

✅ Drive Slowly And Carefully

The byway is winding and there are many scenic overlooks where you can stop and take in the views.

✅ Be Aware Of Wildlife

There are many deer, elk, and other animals along the byway.

✅ Have Fun!

Scenic Byway 12 is a beautiful drive that you’ll never forget.

Scenic Byway 12 near Bryce Canyon National Park

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most frequently asked questions we get about driving Scenic Byway 12.

☑️ Is Scenic Byway 12 Worth Driving?

Scenic Byway 12 is absolutely worth driving.

It starts in Panguitch, Utah near Bryce Canyon National Park and ends in Torrey, Utah near Capitol Reef National Park.

You can drive it in either direction though.

In total, it’s a 122 mile drive.

Scenic Byway 12 Map
GoogleMaps

Along the way, you’ll see towering red rock formations, deep canyons, and lush forests.

You’ll also have the chance to visit a variety of small towns, historical sites, and outdoor recreation areas.

Scenic Byway 12 is a great place to experience the beauty of Utah’s natural landscape.

It’s also a great way to learn about the state’s history and culture.

If you’re looking for a scenic road trip, Scenic Byway 12 is definitely worth driving.

☑️ Are There Gas Stations On Scenic Byway 12?

It’s important to note that gas stations can be spaced out along the byway, so it’s a good idea to fill up your tank whenever you have the chance.

Some gas stations along the way include Sinclair in Panguitch at the start of the drive and in Bryce Canyon City, as well as Texaco at the end of the drive in Torrey.

☑️ What Is The Elevation On Scenic Byway 12?

The elevation along Scenic Byway 12 ranges from 5,223 feet up to 9,636 feet.

☑️ What Is The Highest Point On Scenic Byway 12?

The highest point on Scenic Byway 12 is Boulder Mountain Pass, which is located at an elevation of 9,606 feet (2,928 meters) above sea level.

The pass is located on the Aquarius Plateau, which is a high-elevation plateau in southern Utah.

The pass is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and campers.

There are several scenic overlooks located near the pass, which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

☑️ How Long Does It Take To Drive Scenic Byway 12?

The amount of time it takes to drive Scenic Byway 12 depends on how many stops you make along the way.

If you drive straight through, it will take about 2.5 hours.

However, if you stop to take in the views, visit the many scenic overlooks, and explore the small towns along the way, it could take you a full day or even longer.

Where To Stay Along Scenic Byway 12

Whether you’re staying in Panguitch, Torrey, or somewhere else in the middle, there are lots of great options for places to stay.

✔️ Panguitch KOA

Panguitch KOA is the perfect place to stay before starting your drive along Scenic Byway 12.

It’s one of the smaller and quieter KOAs we’ve stayed in and also cheaper.

Panguitch KOA

✔️ Fruita Campground At Capitol Reef National Park

Fruita Campground is the place I mentioned earlier where you can camp right inside Capitol Reef National Park among the apple orchards and see deer grazing all throughout the day.

Fruita Campground at Capitol Reef National Park

✔️ Skyview Hotel In Torrey

Skyview Hotel actually has a 10/10 guest rating on Hotels.com which is nearly impossible to achieve, so you know it’s good.

?? Click Here To Book Your Stay At Skyview Hotel In Torrey, Utah Today!

Conclusion: Is Scenic Byway 12 Worth Driving?

If you’ve ever wondered if Scenic Byway 12 is worth driving, it absolutely is.

Whether you drive straight through to enjoy the views or you stop at fun places along the way, Scenic Byway 12 is worth driving.