Highway 12, UT

Route Guide


When I planned this trip, I invited my friend Liz K, who couldn't come...but who did drive from Sunnyvale to Colorado in June, through some of the same places I was going on my trip. One of the two things she said not to miss was Highway 12, and since it worked in well with my plans, I did take it...it was amazingly pretty, even with overcast skies. I can only imagine (literally) how gorgeous it is under full sun.

I did this highway in two parts- one section to Cannonville, where I stayed in the KOA for two nights (July 4 weekend, these were the only advance reservations I made, because JULY 4 WEEKEND.) The second part is from Cannonville to Torrey, where I turned off on the 24.

Part 1: from the 89, just south of Panguitch, to Cannonville
This is a panorama of this first pullout that starts the scenic part of Hwy 12. Wooly Mullein
I think this is some kind of aster... Two kinds of thistles; the purple one is an Arizona thistle; the plant on the right is maybe a yellowspine.

Lewis flax

Howard's Evening Primrose There were a couple of cool tunnels on this road...this is one of them. Tunnel info.
The other tunnel. This was my day to poke along and stop where I wanted to, so I stopped for the Mossy Cave trail and the waterfall; this trail is by a stream that was diverted a hundred years ago by settlers who needed more water in this valley for their crops.
Then I arrived at the KOA in Cannonville and checked in, did laundry and had a shower. The next day I did Kodachrome Basin State Park and Bryce Canyon, and the following day I got back on Highway 12 headed for Capitol Reef.
These pictures were taken early in the morning, as I entered the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It was a beautful morning!
So then there was this pullout, with two metal tubes focused on the rock wall across the road. There were supposed to be petroglyphs; the only one I could see was the squiggle in the lower left picture. But when I looked through the tubes at the information kiosk, which were about an inch in diameter, I found what looks like the mother of all gigantic grasshoppers! very cool.
A bit later, I was in a line of cars, and as each of us came around a curve and saw this landscape ahead of us, we pulled over into the viewpoint overlook that was there precisely to keep us from driving off the road while we tried to see the gorgeousness ahead of us. This is Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, and it is STUNNING. I thought I was out of WOW until I got here.
Checkered White butterfly Driving through GS-E NM.

Wildrose