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North From Escalante Along Scenic Utah 12

Heading toward Capitol Reef National Park from the town of Escalante, the rugged mountain scenery, with forests of pine and fir producing a deep green contrast to the rosy red, orange, and brown hues of the region's rock formations, comes into view.

Picturesque Posy Lake (sometimes spelled Posey), under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service (tel. 435/826-5400; www.fs.fed.us/dxnf), is located in a mixed conifer forest at 8,200 feet elevation, some 16 miles northwest of Escalante via Utah 12 and gravel Forest Road 153. The lake is open to nonmotorized boats only. The fishing's good -- the lake is stocked with rainbow trout -- and facilities include a picnic area, two floating docks, and a boat ramp. The numerous dirt roads are popular with mountain bikers and hikers in summer, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers in winter. The Posy Lake Campground, open in summer only, has 22 sites, drinking water, and restrooms, but no showers, RV hookups, or trash pickup. Camping costs $8 per night.

Visitors to Anasazi State Park Museum, in the village of Boulder (about 28 miles northeast of Escalante along Utah 12), step back to the 12th century A.D., when the Kayenta Anasazi (also called Ancestral Puebloans) lived here in one of the largest communities west of the Colorado River. The 6-acre park includes the ruins of the village, a full-size six-room replica of a home, a gift shop, picnic area, 30-seat auditorium, and museum. The museum is open daily from 8am to 6pm in summer and 9am to 5pm the rest of the year, and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission costs $3 per person. There is no campground. For more information, contact Anasazi State Park Museum, 460 N. Utah 12, Boulder, UT 84716 (tel. 435/335-7308; http://stateparks.utah.gov).

Boulder Mountain has some of the most dramatic views along Utah 12 -- you are practically in the clouds, at an elevation of 9,670 feet, atop this mountain, situated northeast of Escalante. From viewpoints such as Point Lookout, you'll gaze out over the colorful sandstone rock cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park to the imposing Henry Mountains, Navajo Mountain, and sights more than 100 miles away.

Those venturing into the backcountry by foot, four-wheel-drive, mountain bike, or horse will discover rugged, remote beauty; the area is also a trout fisherman's paradise, with dozens of secluded mountain lakes and streams hidden among the tall pines and firs. Don't be surprised to see mule deer, elk, and wild turkey in the open meadows. Contact the U.S. Forest Service for information on trails and weather conditions.

After Boulder, it's not too much farther to Capitol Reef National Park, but first is the community of Torrey, where Utah 12 intersects with Utah 24. You can turn right here and proceed to the park.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.