Utah's Scenic Byway 12, which passes Bryce Canyon National Park, proceeds through the beautiful Escalante area, and continues on to Capital Reef National Park, is well-traveled by visitors and locals alike. Just a few miles east from Highway 89, this road passes through the Red Canyon area of Dixie National Forest, and most travelers stop at only a couple of the many scenic turnouts. That is unfortunate, because this is a very accessible and scenic part of Utah, and it is well worth a few hours of exploration.
Several trails leave right from the visitor center 3.5 miles from the western end of SB-12, and one of the most beautiful and photogenic is the Pink Ledges Trail. After parking and browsing the outdoor exhibits, go around the building to the main trailhead. The Pink Ledges Trail is straight ahead. With a small vertical rise and many side spurs to explore, this trail is a great introduction to this interesting geological area that is similar to Bryce Canyon on a much smaller scale, but which is also unique. The iconic hoodoos loom ahead and are visible from much of the trail. In late morning the light is particularly good for photography--the west-facing canyon walls are lit up and reflect warm light on the opposing walls, highlighting the red color of the rocks.
There are other trails to explore around the visitor center, or for a less-frequented walk, head to the Losee Canyon Trailhead and take the Arches Trail to see some amazing eroded rock formations and some great views of the Sevier River Valley to the west. Together these trails would make a great stop on the way to or from Bryce Canyon or beyond.