Utah’s Highway 12 is considered one of the top ten scenic drives in the United States and we agree. The scenery between Escalante and Boulder on this road is unbelievable. All of the spectacular sights we have seen the last three months in Utah’s National Parks are found along this road—grotesquely-shaped red rocks, rainbow-colored arches, bottom-less canyons, lush cottonwood filled valleys with rushing little creeks, forests of juniper and pinion, petrified sand dunes, vistas to far-off mountains, and smooth slick rock. And something unique--the Hogback portion of the highway—approximately two miles of narrow two-lane road with cliffs on both sides (no shoulders!!!). Makes your stomach clench. I tried to take pictures, but they either did not do justice to the views (the picture to the left is from the internet) or we were just too chicken to stop and take a photo.
We turned around at Boulder to make the trip back to our camp in Bryce Canyon, but before leaving we ate at the Burr Trail Grill. Who would have guessed this is a happening place employing young outdoor enthusiasts and an amazing chef. The décor was desert hip, the music was lively and the place was packed. This is in a town of less than 100! We had a pear, pecan, toasted coconut pie for dessert and it was to die for.
We have now made the “Grand Circle” tour of the U.S. Southwest national parks and national monuments including Zion, Grand Canyon, Camp Verde, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and finally the Grand Staircase-Escalante (Utah’s Highway 12). If you have not experienced the Grand Circle, do it!