Scenic Trips Loop 3

Scenic Overlook Loop 3

Itinerary Ideas: Scenic Byway 12 – Burr Trail – Capitol Reef

View our map showing these itinerary options.



Fish Creek Views

Fish Creek
On the way to Grover, take the picturesque county road through Teasdale. It’s an enjoyable ride past Fish Creek, the Cock’s Comb and green fields, and it puts you onto Highway 12.

Highway 12

Scenic Byway 12 – Utah’s All American Road
Utah’s Scenicy Byway12 breaks off of Route 24 just east of Aquarius Inn and is one of only 20 American highways to be dubbed an “All-American Highway,” the highest and most prestigious award given to a road. Highway 12 is ranked the second most scenic route in the nation. The road runs north-south, parallel to Capitol Reef National Park, dipping and climbing its way around the east end of Boulder Mountain through shimmering green groves of quaking aspen and the evergreen of pines. This is an especially beautiful drive in the fall when the brilliant green of the aspen turn to gilded gold and fiery red. Scenic lookouts are marked and paved. From these vantage points you can see (on a clear day) hundreds of miles. The red and white cliffs of Capitol Reef, the pigeon blue of the clay mesas of Caineville and the lofty, blue peaks of the Henry Mountains, where one of the last free-roaming herd of buffalo graze.

Anasazi State Museum

Anasazi State Museum

The Anasazi State Museum and partially excavated prehistoric Native American village is located in the heart of the small picturesque town of Boulder, which sits amidst green fields and hills of white quilted rock. These ruins were once the site of one of the largest Anasazi communities west of the Colorado River and served as a hub of Anasazi culture. Experts believe that Anasazi occupied the village between 1050 and 1200 A.D.

While in the area, we recommend that you also visit the museum (where artifacts from this ancient culture are displayed year-round).

The Burr Trail

Burr Trail
The Burr Trail road heads in Boulder. From there the trail consists of a paved road for the first ten miles, ending at the Capitol Reef National Park boundary. This portion of the Burr Trail adventure takes you down a switchback that hangs on the edge of red cliffs and through Long Canyon – a cool shadowed cliff-lined lane. Hike into the small box canyon along the side of the road before you leave Long Canyon – it’s beautiful and a short walk. The Burr Trail road is known for its narrow and winding switchbacks down the steep hillside; in fact, you can often see where you have been and where you are going on the same sharp turn. From the top of the switchbacks, the road winds like a snake to the desert floor. Shift into low gear and prepare for the thrill of the drive down. You can’t help but feel a sigh of relief when the bottom has arrived and you can look to the top where you had just been. We recommend taking the unpaved road through Notom back to Highway 24 (Take plenty of water, sunscreen and maybe a picnic lunch.) and traveling through Capitol Reef National Park and back to Bicknell.

Highway 24

Scenic Highway 24

As you travel West on Route 24, observe the remnants and feel the spirit of those hardy pioneers who settled and made this their home. In Blue Valley, later named Giles, a portion of the Abbott home stands and in Capitol Reef visit the one room Behunin Cabin.

With each journey through this special place, called Capitol Reef, new pleasures meet the eye. A different rock formation, a different blend of colors – Mother Nature uses all to sculptor and paint her masterpieces. Don’t miss her beautiful painting on the canyon wall just west of the Behunin Cabin. With bold strokes of buff, chocolate brown and a touch of rust, emerges the head of a husky. Colors merging and blending bring forth pointed ears, dark eyes and nose and continue into the ruff around his neck. There is no mistaking this wonderful work of art.

Stop at the waterfall and see how water can cut and form the red sandstone. A nice swim would feel so refreshing after a hard day of sight seeing.