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Topic: Utah Highway 12 I am nervous to drive it

Posted By: 6.6&5th on 12/19/09 07:49am

I need to travel Utah highway 12 near Bryce Canyon. I will be in Chevy Duramax pulling a 30ft. 5th wheel.Have you driven this route and what was it like. I am very nervous about this highway and the hogsback. Heights worry me in my older age.Thanks Hugh

Hugh & Diane,
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Posted By: skipnchar on 12/19/09 08:01am

Try and relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The highway is standard 2 lane width every where and there are a lot of places you can pull over and take pictures or just enjoy the view. Whenever we travel that route about HALF of the RV traffic we see are rental Class C motor homes and even those mostly inexperienced RVs don't seem to have much difficulty (once they get all of the steps up, hatches closed and antennas down that is [emoticon]). There are some places where there are edges on both sides of the road, mostly through the Escalante but that's also where the scenery is fantastic and just keep telling yourself the road is standard width. If you don't fall off on the flat land there's no reason you'd fall off on the high parts.
Good luck / Skip

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Posted By: hwybnb on 12/19/09 08:15am

There is no pat answer to your question because it depends on how you feel about mountain highway driving in general and how much pulling power you have. Since you have said you are nervous about it I think telling you to relax and enjoy might not be the right answer for you. It is a spectacular drive but is steep in places, very winding, and goes over a 9,800 foot pass. I have done it in a 30 foot MH with a toad and would do it again, but it was one of the most difficult drives I have made.

The longest grades are south of Torry. About 23 miles south of Torry there is summit called Round Rock Flat. The northbound descent from there is a cuvey, stair-step 6% grade for 5 miles. About 4 miles later there is another stair-step grade that is 10 miles long with grades up to 8%. Between Boulder and Escalante there are several sections of up and down grades as steep as 10% but they are fairly short. Between Escalante and Henrieville there is a one mile grade that is marked 12%.

Posted By: mockturtle on 12/19/09 08:19am

Depends on when you're planning on driving it. Winter? Summer?

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Posted By: Lauren on 12/19/09 08:30am

I am assuming a summer drive. Like so many mountain roads, it depends on your personal comfort level. I have the feeling you are not real comfortable about it and, as such, would not recommend it with a 5er. The hogsback is narrow and drops both sides. And, as said, lots of inexperienced drivers up there that does not help. But it is a beautiful drive. We stayed at Capital Reef area and drove it with the truck only - beautiful drive.

Be safe.

Merry Christmas.

* This post was edited 12/19/09 09:15am by Lauren *

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Posted By: blacksea on 12/19/09 08:33am

Skip is right... I was raised not far from there... it's a nice drive, not demanding... kick back, drop the white knuckles and enjoy the ride... All you need do is use common sense...

Posted By: trailertraveler on 12/19/09 05:32pm

6.6&5th wrote:

I need to travel Utah highway 12 near Bryce Canyon. I will be in Chevy Duramax pulling a 30ft. 5th wheel.Have you driven this route and what was it like. I am very nervous about this highway and the hogsback. Heights worry me in my older age.Thanks Hugh


If you are going to be in Bryce or Torrey for a few days, I recommend driving UT-12 in the truck (it is one of the best scenic byways in the country in my opinion) to see what you will be driving pulling the trailer. You could visit Kodachrome Basin State Park and Anasazi State Park and make a day of it. Lots to see and a lot easier to get into the scenic overlooks without the trailer in tow..

We have a Chevy Duramax pulling a 26' TT. In my opinion, the grades will be no issue for your rig. If you are looking for an alternate route, take US-89 North from Bryce to Kingston, UT-62 North to Koosharem where you will take the local cutoff to UT-24 East which will take you to Torrey. It is all good two lane and is not as stressful a drive as UT-12. No where near as much traffic and no real steep dropoffs with narrow shoulders that I can remember. It is about 30 miles longer, but will not add that much time as you will not have all the low speed switchbacks and hills.

Safe travels!

Posted By: Dick_B on 12/19/09 06:15pm

You could review the road in Mountain Directory West to get a preview of what it's like.
Why do you have to travel a road you don't want to?

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Posted By: time2roll on 12/19/09 06:27pm

Nothing to fear but fear itself. Go and enjoy.

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Posted By: Charles2222 on 12/19/09 12:15pm

No problem with 12. Now I think it's 24 out the east side of Capital Reef that's a doozy,not for the faint heart.

Posted By: CloudDriver on 12/19/09 11:05am

We drove our Minnie from Torrey to Bryce over UT 12 last May. We took lots of pictures during the drive and I thought sharing a few of the hogsback section might help with your decision. The entire route is a beautiful drive and the hogsback is only about a mile long with only sections with dropoffs on both sides. If you can keep the tires on the pavement on other 2 lane roads, then you can do so here too. IIRC the speed limit is 25 and no one is in a hurry there anyway.

We actually drove through 3 times, as we used turnouts to make U turns so that DW could get some video of the drive through.




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Posted By: Jay Pat on 12/19/09 08:47am

I would suggest driving under the posted speed limit at a speed you feel confortable with. With a little bit slower speed you will feel more in control of your rig and this will allow you to enjoy the road & scenery. Traffic may build up behind you, just be prepared to pull over often and let everyone by. Give them a friendly wave as they come around you. They will probably wave back.
If the road has sharp turns and switchbacks, remember your trailer will tract to the inside of path of your pickup. With your slower speed, oncoming traffic can react quicker and safer incase your trailer is on the yellow stripe.

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Posted By: Thunder Mountain on 12/19/09 08:50am

Yee haw - One of my favorite roads in Utah. I'll go out of my way to drive it. Done it in two differecnt fivers and the MH. Take it easy, enjoy the views and use the turn outs. The pass can be a challenge if you let you speed get out of hand. The hogback is beautiful with breath taking views. Seen a few white knuckled drivers in RV driving down the middle of the road.

The pass is especially beautiful in the fall. Only real problems I've had is the hogback during high cross winds. All you had to do is slow down some more.

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Posted By: 1mtnman on 12/19/09 09:02am

All the support and advise is wonderful but if you are deathly afraid of heights and mountainous driving there is no reason to challenge your phobia. My spouse and I use to take all those backcountry roads and thank god for four wheel vehicles because we used them to their max. I still love to do that type of driving but my spouse is now deathly afraid of heights and I know full well that if she is with me to stay away from those place.
My advise after having been to the area of which you speak on many occasions and many other mountainous areas that you would not even consider is to use your best judgment. If you do not feel comfortable with the thought, don't do it!

Posted By: elh0146 on 12/21/09 08:13am

I don't like heights, but SR-12 didn't bother me at all, even the hogback. It's probably one of the most scenic drives of any road we've taken...and that includes in Alaska.

Posted By: Bigdog on 12/20/09 12:44am

ramblemutt wrote:

Charles2222 wrote:

No problem with 12. Now I think it's 24 out the east side of Capital Reef that's a doozy,not for the faint heart.


[emoticon] I agree with the Huh...

I agree with the poster ho said that the only fear you'll develop is fear itself.. I also have driven it a couple of times.Once in April when the weather was very suspect in my Cherokkee when I was tent camping and once pulling a 27' Wilderness with a 3/4 ton ' problems.. I have also pulled the Wilderness south thru Big Sur on Ca #1 and north from Olema to Leggett and that's worse..
Just don't think about it and it'll be a beautiful trip.

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Posted By: Dr Quick on 12/20/09 07:06am

I drove that section of highway from Torrey to Bryce just this past September .I pulled a 28 foot 5th with a F250 gas. It is a very beautiful drive, but a VERY challenging road. I saw posted grades of 14%, but they were not very long. I had been to Alaska the previous summer and was not prepared for the roads out west.

My advice is, unless you are experienced at mountain driving, and with your fear of heights, I would recommend you to take a different route.

I would consider doing this road again in a vehicle, but never pulling a trailer again.

Dr Quick

Posted By: Lauren on 12/20/09 07:06am

Hey, guys, it is a personal comfort level for each person. Mountain driving or mountain hiking. No big deal to one person can be a helluva big deal to someone else. Particularly a flatlander or someone with minimal mountain driving experience.

Even though it took up space, Cloud Driver did the best thing.

And, always the unknown about the "other guy" up there - does he like his half our of the middle, is inexperienced and driving too fast?

It is a beautiful drive and one should do it - I still want to catch the aspens up there!

I have done a lot of mountain driving, mountain hiking and mountain trail running - always have been places I would not go in some circumstances.

Be safe.

Posted By: ramblemutt on 12/19/09 07:18pm

Charles2222 wrote:

No problem with 12. Now I think it's 24 out the east side of Capital Reef that's a doozy,not for the faint heart.


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