The most beautiful highways in the U.S. (if not the world!)

After staying in the pretty little town of Bluff, Utah for a couple of days we started heading north. We drove to the city of Blanding to grocery shop and then headed west on Utah 95. I love the Utah state highway signs as they feature a beehive with the highway number in the middle of it.

Utah 95 is a long gorgeous road crossing over canyons and alongside rivers until it ends in the city oh Hanksville. We explored the adobe ruins on a brief hike to Butler Wash,

then crossed over the Comb Ridge again

You can visit three natural stone carved bridges either by car on a ten mile loop road, or park and hike steep trails down the canyons to see them up close and personal. We decided that parking and viewing from the overlooks was just fine.

 
Heading back to 95 we drove many more miles through wind sculpted canyons until we reached Lake Powell. We crossed the bridge over the Colorado River and had our lunch at an overlook that gave us a grand view of what is left of the lake: years of intense drought have reduced the lake depth so much that the  boat ramp for the town of Hite on the opposite side of the lake is s at least a mile from the water’s edge!
Rafters were on the river below us as we had a picnic lunch.
The Colorado River channel still cuts its own path alongside the remnants, but so much of the lake is dried up that most of the side canyons that were once flooded are now bone dry.

We continued west on 95 until we reached Hanksville, stopping for fuel at an unusual gas station-it’s a convenience store was cut into the side of a small mountain.

95 ended and Utah 24 took us further westward—another scenic byway that drove through miles of eroded and sculpted mountains of gray stone until we entered Capitol Reef National Park. A former prehistoric underwater reef, natural forces created canyons of sculpted sandstone and one of them reminded the Mormon settlers of the dome of the US Capitol building.

We stopped to view the many petroglyphs carved into the canyon walls by many centuries of indigenous travelers before spending the weekend in the city of Torrey.(hint: there is a restaurant called “Hunt and Gather” that served us one of the best meals of the whole trip!

Leaving Torey, we returned to the park and visited some of its natural features while stopping and picking ripe Gold Crisp apples at one of the park’s heritage orchards in historic Fruita. When the government created the park they kept the many orchards planted by the early Mormon settlers. You can pick whatever fruits or nut trees that are ripe and pay by the pound. Honor system cash boxes are located by each orchard. Later on I made several batches of applesauce with my little InstaPot that we happily consumed during the trip.
 
Heading south form Torey is  Utah scenic highway 12, known as “ The most beautiful road in the world”. The road ascends the sandstone and limestone ridges and climbs up into juniper, then spruce covered mountains.
We stopped in the town of Boulder for a nice outdoor lunch at The Burr Trail Grill and did some shopping next door at the Burr Trail Outpost. (Here is a brief video of 12 in Boulder– I have also done a 15 minute video that I will be happy to share. that will make you feel like you are in the RV.)
I took over driving as we continued south. The road climbed again, this time through sculpted canyons of white limestone that were studded with sporadic juniper and cedar trees. It was gorgeous! In fact we loved this road so much we drove it twice!
 
The beautiful canyons and views ended at the city of Escalante, but the road continued south past more mesas and red and gray wind sculpted mountains.We took a side road ten miles until we reached Kodachrome Basin State Park, our campsite for the next two nights. Kodachrome got its name because of its colorful wind sculpted pillars that to stand out from the valley floor.

We witnessed a rainstorm that brought us a spectacular double rainbow looking behind Chimney Rock.

Leaving Kodachrome we returned to highway 12  and continued southwest, visiting the City of Tropic, home of Bryce Canyon National Park. The road continues westward towards Zion National Park, but we followed it for only a few miles more before heading north.

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