Running west to east across southern Utah from (roughly) Cedar City to Boulder, the Dixie National Forest covers a huge area that includes lava flows, rock formations of varying hues, wind-eroded ampitheaters, pine forests, and even alpine meadows and small mountain lakes. Much of it lies along Utah Route 12, which is one of the most scenic highways in the western U.S. From Red Canyon to Escalante, most of Route 12 runs through arid terrain with spectacular rock formations. But then the road begins to climb up Boulder Mountain topping out above 9,000 feet, where the Dixie National Forest again earns its name. The previous desert-like terrain gives way to forests of pine, spruce, and aspen -- with occasional meadows blanketed with wild flowers. Ranchers graze cattle in these forests and meadows; and there are no fences, so be careful: cattle crossing the highway is commonplace!