Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Byways - Utah Scenic Drives

The multi-colored cliffs common to Capitol Reef National Park and this region inspired the Indians who once lived here to name it the "Land of the Sleeping Rainbow." Today, those who love this landscape's diversity—red rock canyons, pristine meadows, alpine forests, and lush green valleys—regard beautiful Wayne county as a "Land of Contrast." Summers are mild allowing a variety of outdoor activities. Fall brings spectacular color contrasts—aspen groves with shades of red and gold complement stately green pines on the mountains of Dixie and Fishlake national forests. During winter months you can hike in the desert or snowmobile in the mountains. Spring offers ideal weather for long-distance hiking or biking. Cactus and other wildflowers bring spring color to the desert.

Wayne county is comprised of 97 percent public lands with a wide range of scenic attractions: two national parks, two national forests, four scenic byways, three scenic backways and numerous historic sites. Spectacular experiences await those interested in hiking, biking, four-wheeling, fishing, boating, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, hunting and camping, as well as auto touring! And, if you find you are sharing a highway with a herd of cattle or sheep, please slow down and take the time to reflect upon, and enjoy, the unique rural western heritage of this area.

Scenic Byway 12
Scenic Byway 12, chosen as one of the top ten scenic roads in America by Car and Driver magazine, offers sweeping panoramas of the Waterpocket Fold, Circle Cliffs, and the Henry Mountains. Possible day trips along this highway are a visit to the Anasazi Indian Village State Park, a hike to I 26-foot high Calf Creek Falls, or a drive over the scenic Burr Trail And Notom Road.

Fishlake Scenic Byway, SR25
Fishlake Scenic Byway, SR25, carries you through the meadows and mountains of the Fishlake National Forest to the Fish Lake-Johnson Valley area, which has 3,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs. Several species of trout and splake can be caught year-round. Wildlife sightings of elk, deer and small game are common. There is also a large population of water fowl as well as Golden and Bald Eagles.

Scenic Byway 24
Scenic Byway 24 descends from rolling sagebrush terrain through checkered farmland into the multicolored cliffs of Capitol Reef. Beyond the park the land changes into a "moonscape" of stark gray hills. In Hanksville be sure to visit the relocated Wolverton Mill, built in 1921 in the Henry Mountains. The log structure is unique because it was used to mill wood and to crush ore.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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