#139s Bryce Canyon and UT12

Fleeter Log #139s
Bryce Canyon National Park (UT12)

Day 25 - Saturday
May 9, 2009
259 miles

Cedar City, UT to Torrey, UT

The day's route starts by taking me northbound on I15, but only to Parowan. There I turned east on UT143 where the interesting stuff begins. Brian Head, Utah is known for the skiing resort located there. Brian Head Resort
It isn't hard to imagine this area as a winter playground. There's still enough snow on the ground to make me double check the date. Yep, it's May.
Today, I find myself on the north side of Cedar Breaks National Monument.

But again, the road (UT148) is closed into Cedar Breaks. As you see in the photo below, the road is still covered with snow. I am a few weeks early to make a visit to Cedar Breaks. The summer season starts a bit later here than most National Parks in the area.
Leaving Cedar Breaks until another visit, I still have plenty of twisting and turning to keep me occupied on my way to Pangiutch, Utah on hwy 143.
In Panguitch, I take US89 to the western terminus of the famed UT12.
Utah's highway 12 has many gems to offer a fleeterer. The first is Red Canyon just a couple miles east of US89.

Arches over roadways make me feel like the roadway is now taking me into another dimension where even more wonders await on the other side.

Seems like another sign. This one from the sky. I think it is telling me that I'm heading along the right path.
A hundred miles into my day, I make it to Bryce Canyon National Park. I stop at the busy visitor center to get a brochure with a layout of the park. The best approach to Bryce is to travel all the way to Rainbow Point at the southern end of the park without stopping- about 16 miles. Then on the way back north, stop at the scenic overlooks; all will be found on your right as you make your way back out of the park.

As I travel around the country, I find it interesting how the graphic artists view the local antlered Cervidae. This one, for example, appears to have no tail, but when you enlarge the photo (by clicking on it) you can see that it's there. It's just tucked down, unlike other deer crossing signs that show the tail in full-flag position as the buck lurches out into the roadway just as you are passing by.

View from Rainbow Point.

Video from Rainbow Point:

The point at Rainbow Point.

This crow followed me from one scenic lookout to another. He wasn't shy about taking crackers right out of my hand. I bet he spends all day hanging out with the tourists waiting for some sucker to come along that will feed him. And when he finds them, he's smart enough to know the routine -- next stop (and next cracker) at the next scenic pullout. Meet you there!

After careful training (or feeding), Mr. Crow poses for his close-up portrait.
It would be hard to pick out a favorite overlook in Bryce Canyon. I recommend you stop and enjoy them all!
And certainly, do not miss the Natural Bridge!

As good as UT12 looks behind me it's not even the best part. Just wait until you see what's ahead!

I stop in Escalante, Utah at the very nice Inter-agency visitor center long enough to use the facilities and to get an ink stamp.
Here's a clue to the best part of UT12 coming up.

Here's a peek at the stretch of road coming up.

Just some of the views from highway 12 north of Escalante, Utah.

There's not many official scenic overlooks along highway 12 between Escalante and Boulder, but Boynton is one not to be skipped!

Video past Boynton Overlook to Calf Creek on UT12:

This stretch of highway 12 feels like riding along Utah's crooked spine . . . there's the Capital Reef National Park far off to the right and more of Dixie National Forest to the left. The view extends further than one can see even if there was enough time to look between the twists and turns.

The last 30-40 miles of the day, my route took me through some of the best that Dixie National Forest has to offer. The highway slowly climbs in elevation revealing views of Utah that beg for more time than I'm willing to spare today. Then it slings me over the top and down into the groves of aspen trees on the other side. I am left gliding down into the town of Torrey.

Still feeling the exhilaration of the UT12, I find myself in downtown Torrey, Utah without a place to spend the night. Torrey isn't a big place. The last official census counter could only find 171 people calling Torrey home, but a more recent headcount only came up with 120 people. There were a few places to let for the night, but not many. The first place to get my attention was Austin's Chuckwagon Motel. I pull in and park among several other motorcycles near the motel office. The woman at the desk is friendly enough, but the answer is "No Vacancy" tonight. It's already after 5:30pm and the "rooms for let" are going fast. I ask her for a recommendation for a cheap and clean room. She suggests I call Affordable Inn on the edge of town as she hands me the phone and recites their number from memory. Indeed, they have two rooms left. I ask them to hold a single ($49) for me, return the phone, thank the clerk, and leave to saddle up to go claim my room.

As I head back to the GS, I see a Vstrom pulling in to park next to me. I didn't know it yet, but the rider was Danielle, my soon to be only friend from British Columbia, Canada. She also just pulled into town and is looking for a room for the night. I pass the word to her on the "no vacancy" and share the intel of the rooms at the edge of town. She agrees that rooms are going fast and we should get going while the getting is still good. We each find a room at the Affordable Inn and make plans to go have supper together after we clean up.

Danielle and I take the recommendation of the guy at the check-in desk and head to the Rim Rock Restaurant for supper. We enjoy a leisurely meal while spending the next two hours trading road tales. To make the night just a bit more special, at the end of our meal, we were approached by a local BMW GS rider named Janet. She noticed that we were riders and wanted to welcome us to Torrey. Thanks for the warm welcome, Janet.

Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs


  1. Look at you "The Crow Whisperer" :)

    Love that shot of you in front of the Natural Bridge!

  2. As always, a great report. I need to buy me some of that patience for setting up self-portraits while on a ride. Where does one get it? I'm always so anxious to see the next sight I snap a pic and boogey down the road greedily looking for the next sight. Keep ridin' and keep reporting. Jerry