The Beautiful and Terrifying Hogback

There is a four mile stretch of Scenic Byway 12 in Utah called the Hogback, that is both beautiful and terrifying to drive across. This stretch of road sits right on top of a cliff, with a steep drop off on each side. Driving across what feels like a knife-blade, with NO guard rails on either side of the road, was an intensely insane ride!

But first, a little history about Scenic Byways. There are approximately 184 National Scenic Byways in the US, designated as such due to a specific quality of unique beauty or cultural interest. Scenic Byway 12 in Utah between Torrey and Escalante, is one of these roads. This 122 mile stretch of highway contains beautiful vistas, canyons, interesting rock formations, and the terrifying Hogback.

There are many areas along the highway to stop and take in the spectacular views.

This winding road cuts through open range territory and at one point we had to stop for a cow who was standing in our lane. As we pulled up to her, she stood her ground while mindlessly chewing. After staring at us for a few moments, she slowly turned and sauntered off the road. Apparently, she was not too bothered by the cars on the highway!

The byway lead us to Escalante, and then through a small portion of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

When we drove across the Hogback again later that day, on our way back to Torrey, we pulled over to take in the view. Surprisingly, once I was out of the car, the fear was gone. I walked along the road to get some photos, and felt fairly relaxed in doing so.

There are many areas of interest along highway 12 including Dixie National Forest, Capitol Reef National Park, Anasazi State Park and Museum, and much more. If you can make it across the Hogback, you will be rewarded with some of Utah’s finest scenery. But for me, once was enough. 🙂

9/15/22 – UPDATE: Are you interested in France? Six months ago, theTravelsketcher and I, along with our elderly cat, Neville, moved to Normandie. (Click here to read about our move). We’re out and about every week, sketching and taking photos for our blogs; we would love to have you sign up to follow our sites.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

Balboa Park, San Diego

Hovenweep National Monument

Carnac Stones, Brittany France

Wishing you grand adventures,


8 thoughts on “The Beautiful and Terrifying Hogback

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  1. Yes indeed, I can see that this must be a beautiful and terrifying road in one go! Love the rock colours and formations and the views are truly spectacular … but like you’ve said … done and dusted and no need to go back 😉.

    Liked by 1 person

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