Our drive took us through some amazing country as we passed the Escalante National Monument. We took a detour onto Hell’s Backbone Road, a road built in the 1930′s by the CCC as access to the remote town of Boulder, Utah. It was an amazing drive that first took us to Posey Lake, a high country lake that literally felt like we were in the middle of a nature movie with trout jumping all over the lake and a large variety of ducks performing mating ritual. The road meandered up and up until we came out to some spectacular views of deep canyon gorges. While the road is easily passable by passenger car in good weather, it is not for the faint of heart with nearly sheer drops and no guard rail. At one point, the road crosses a bridge, aptly named Hell’s Backbone Bridge where you are literally staring out in both directions at amazing canyon views. The bridge is propped up across two rock outcroppings and seems like it is at the crux of the backbone.
The road winds down and rejoins Route 12 in Boulder Utah. We drove into town for our dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill. I would say this is truly one of the best restaurants in the Southwest with traditional and southwest dishes made from locally produced foods. It was good to see that most of the staff commutes by bike, as evidenced by the full bike rack out front.
On the drive back to Bryce, we stayed on Route 12. This road has almost equally impressive views and also offers up the backbone experience of riding on the high point of a ridge with tremendous views in either direction. This is all around amazing country and would be incredible for bike touring. Being as remote as it is, the roads are smooth and the traffic is light, perfect for a bike touring adventure.