Driving around the Western US is one of life's great pleasures and Utah is one of the highlights of any western road trip. Getting around to the National Parks requires a car or strong legs and a love for cycling. A car gives you more flexibility and the ability to carry everything you'll need, especially if on a long trip. Distances are far but there's lots to see in between. Part of the fun is getting there, right? It's a good three hours to Bryce and Arches National Parks in either direction but there are some interesting state parks to see along the way too.
Once in the park, you'll want to do the Scenic Drive out to Capitol Gorge. This 25 mile round trip is spectacular in every direction and well worth the effort.
There are few places where you can get gas close by. Boulder to the south 30 miles had little services. Hanksville to the east 50 miles had some gas, but are you going that way? Torrey at the intersection of Hwy 24 and Scenic Hwy 12, may be the last chance to get prepared.
I saw this biker about 4 times while I stopped off and then got back on Hwy 12-the scenic route. He was going 800 miles from Boulder to St. George and beyond. The trip may take him 3 weeks or so, and he stops to enjoy the scenery. I am sure some of the steep climbs must have been rigorous. He camped wherever it was free to cheap, and showered some times.
The car is again the only (efficient) way in getting here ...
... and getting around in the Capitol Reef N.P. and Torrey surroundings. In the park here are several wonderful trails that can be followed by foot and show special rockformations and the waterpockets that this ark is famous for.
In the attached picture I try to show you what strange landscape we went true on our way from Torrey to Escalante (first part). The land is full of gaps through which the road is winding (with a little green line I highlighted it).