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The Most Scenic Highway in America

Bryce National Park

Bryce National Park

Of all the road trips I have ever taken in the Western United States, the most spectacular is Utah Route 12, which runs from a point along U.S. 89 between Hatch and Panguitch to the town of Torrey. Along the way, you will find Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a scenic stretch known as “The Hogback,” Anasazi State Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. Nowhere else in the U.S. will you find 122 miles of concentrated scenic beauty equivalent to what you will find here. And, what is more, you are within hailing distance of the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, and Hovenweep National Monument.

Below is a map of the route:

Map of Utah Scenic Byway 12

Map of Utah Scenic Byway 12

For the full detail, you can consult a 23-page Adobe Acrobat PDF file by clicking here. In it, you will find that I left out at least half of your destination options.

Martine and I took this highway about six years ago. We considered it probably one of our best trips within the U.S., and certainly the best in the Southwest. Along the way, we visited several other National Parks and Monuments and tourist sites, including a spectacular museum of taxidermy (of all things) just outside of Bryce. We even stopped to see the “original” London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Most Scenic Highway in America

  1. Gorgeous country indeed. Another site of interest, off I-40 a few miles east of Flagstaff is Walnut Canyon. Small, but a close up visit to a cliff dwelling. Quite a chore getting back up those stairs though and the altitude doesn’t help. Not a lengthy expanse of stairs though, nothing like what I suspect is at Machu Picchu.

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