Scenic Byway 12: Utah’s First ‘All American Road’

Utah’s 124-mile All American Scenic Byway 12 captured my heart with intense drama, diversity, and landscapes unfolding with stunning perfection across south-central Utah.

This All American Road has 11 amazing national or state forests, parks, monuments, and recreation areas, each a destination in its own right.

Spanning from Bryce Canyon to Escalante and Boulder it includes lush ponderosa pine and aspen forests opening to sliprock canyons then stunning mountain meadows full of flowers.

Desolate shale badlands and limestone canyons filled with eroding rock formations and spirals of hoo-doos inhabit a diverse landscape of infinite, quiet beauty. Breathtaking is an understatement.

Scenic 12 crosses the Trail of The Ancients Scenic Byway where  maps spiral beyond time in a land that has shaped resilient, tenacious people from Paleolithic societies to ancestral Puebloans to nomadic Navajo, Apache, and Ute tribes followed by white settlers.

Limited water,  rugged topography, and powerful winds carve astonishing vistas, an enduring faith, and deep appreciation for life.

Vistas spanning hundreds of miles and eons of time offer a rare silence broken occasionally by the faint drone of airplanes. Sunrise and sunset delight the senses while expansive dark skies starscapes reveal glimpses of the universe beyond our galaxy.

Scenic Byway 12 has two entry points. The southwestern gateway is from U.S. HW 89, seven miles south of the city of Panguitch. The northeastern gateway is from HW 24 in the town of Torrey near Capitol Reef National Park.  There are nine communities along the route. There’s quite an expanse between towns so be sure to keep an eye on your gas guage.

How does a road become an All American? These elite scenic byways are a portal to Nature’s stunning creations.

All American Roads offer inspiring vistas of natural, historic, recreational, archeological, and cultural significance.

I have love affairs with every All American Road I meet.

A single lifetime is not nearly enough.





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Cindy Cason has been a print and broadcast journalist, magazine writer, communications director, and consultant. At home, she was a single mom to four busy and amazing kids. In a blink, they launched and she faced a quiet, empty home and another decade until retirement. She opted to sell the farm and embarked on a solo journey into the American wilderness, traveling in a tiny, offroad teardrop trailer pulled by a Subaru Outback. Today she spotlights the beauty of life in nature, hoping to inspire you to passionately live every phase of your own authentic life. Especially retirement...

8 thoughts on “Scenic Byway 12: Utah’s First ‘All American Road’”

  1. The next time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to read, however I actually thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you possibly can fix if you happen to werent too busy searching for attention.

    1. Thank you Susan! It’s the kind of extreme beauty around every bend that I often have to close my eyes and slowly take it in!

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