Exploring Utah Scenic Highways

Whether traveling north or south from Marysvale on Highway 89, we are assured of a picturesque journey.  Today we head south.  Just past Circleville, we pass the childhood home of Butch Cassidy then in less then two hours we arrive at Utah Scenic Highway 12.  From here we can turn east toward Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante.  To the west lies Scenic Highway 14 which bisects the Dixie National Forest with its numerous and varied attractions.

Utah Scenic Highway 14

Mammoth Cave
Just beyond this Cave “foyer” are masses huddled trying to decide whether to go further into the darkness

The first time Storm and I traveled across Utah Scenic Highway 14, snow blanketed all but the narrow black ribbon of pavement unfurling through the tranquil forest in front of us.  Snowy bulwarks blocked departure from the main road or entry to park sights.  That first trip occurred in early May so we were not expecting that kind of glacial resistance.  We hope our Memorial Weekend trip allows us to finally discover the many gems this forest conceals in the winter. 

Mammoth Cave

This year, a clamorous parade of ATV riders emits a billowing cloud of dust directing us toward Mammoth Cave. This huge lava tube is home to a species of bats during winter and several species of tourists in the summer.  Compared to the California lava tubes Terrie led us through a couple years ago, this one was a bit crowded.  The website describes this cave as huge with 2200 feet of passages. To enter the cave, folks are rolling through a restrictive 3′ x 4′ opening in the gate near the floor.  Storm and I can’t see past the crowd of folks just inside the entrance.  I am not excited about being trapped with a crowd in a dark cave offering only a tiny opening through which to escape.  Instead we chose to admire the tunnel entrance then join Jim Brown up top to continue our exploration of this forest elsewhere.

Alpine LunchCascade Falls

Next we navigate to Cascade Falls.  This lava tube gathers water from Navajo Lake and expels it from the mountainside.  After lunching in a alpine forest-like glen, Storm and Jim decide a Jeep Siesta is in order.  I hike the 1.5 mile round trip to the falls and back.  While on the ledge path leading to the falls, I find myself in a spring-time snowstorm.  I pass other shivering hikers dressed in only shorts and tank tops.  I am wearing “non-ventilated” jeans and a jacket, proving that lessons learned from our Barney Lake fiasco were not a total loss.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Our last stop on Highway 14 is at Cedar Breaks National Monument.  This park never opens until the snow melts, so it was solidly closed on our last visit.  A Park Ranger at the Dixie National Forest Visitor Center urged us to visit Cedar Breaks.  He extolled the beauty of this little known canyon of hoodoos.  The amphitheater at Cedar Breaks resembles Bryce Canyon, although we saw no trails among the hoodoos at Cedar Breaks.  The crowds have not learned of this beautiful park yet and as a result parking is easy at overlooks and photos can be taken without dodging other day-trippers.

Photos from our Adventures around Highways 12 and 14

Mill on Highway 62
Old Mill along Hwy 62 between Hwy 12 and Hwy 89
Cascade Falls
This is the life! Jim relaxes at Cascade Falls.
Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls
Bryce Canyon
We did sneak into Bryce Canyon on a weekday and there was plenty of room to sight see at that time
Cedar Breaks
Cedar Breaks
Mossy Cave
Mossy Cave Canyon – Falls in irrigation ditch along Highway 12 – part of Bryce Canyon National Park


About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

4 Replies to “Exploring Utah Scenic Highways”

  1. Jim & Sandy Dukeman says: Reply

    Another great trip to unknown parts of this great land of ours. At our age we will probably never make it to any of the outstanding places that you are sharing, keep up the good work, and thanks for being there. See ya at OSH we hope. ;>)) GOD BLESS

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to keep up with us! See you soon, I hope too!!

  2. When exploring Mammoth Cave lava tube did you remember to carry “two light jackets”?

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      I honestly don’t feel safe in a lava tube unless Terrie is there to be sure I am properly equipped :-) We missed her on this adventure!

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