Highway 12 “The Million-Dollar Road” – Garfield County UT


The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the roads into Boulder UT, which has previously lacked any modern access.  The first road from Escalante to Boulder was along Hell’s Backbone, built in 1933, and the second – and first all-weather road – was the present State Highway 12, started in 1935 and finished in 1940.  A roadside information marker on Highway 12 explains in detail:

“Before the Highway 12 route was built, traveling through this region was slow, hard work. As late as 1940, Boulder (Utah) still received its mail by mule train for part of the year. The Civilian Conservation Corps had completed the Hell’s Backbone Road between Escalante and Boulder in 1933, allowing vehicle traffic in summertime. But when winter snows closed that road, the only routes between the two towns were wagon trails through the canyons…In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps crews began to build the Lower Boulder Road, now part of Highway 12. Nicknamed the “Million Dollar Road,” the road took five years, backbreaking effort, ingenuity, and many tons of dynamite to complete. Crews blasted through sandstone ledges down to the Escalante River and up Calf Creek Canyon. On June 21, 1940, jubilant community members celebrated completion of the first all-season automobile road between the two communities.”

Source notes

Roadside information marker at site

“Scenic Byway 12 Route Guide,” available for download at https://www.scenicbyway12.com/

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - wpatoday.org on May 27, 2013.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Highway 12
Boulder, UT 84766

Coordinates: 37.745607, -111.454289

Leave a Reply

Before leaving a comment, please note:

  • Comments allow viewers to share information with others or alert us to errors or changes in a New Deal site.
  • We are not involved in the management of New Deal sites and have no information about visits, hours or rentals.
  • This page shows all the information we have for this site; if you have new information or photos to share, click below.


We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.