It's a little over four hours on the freeway, little over five hours using route 12 and 24. There is no time change. While it's maybe an hour longer drive time, it would be a shame to miss the truly remarkable drive on route 12. Only other downside is that you'll likely stop more to absorb the views there.
Highway 12 might be the most scenic drive in the USA. Don't skip it. We usually take two days e tween Bryce and Moab, but it can be done in one. This fall we plan to stay at Escalante for 5 days to explore some of the territory around Hwy 12. We'll have about two dozen more TA pals with us, so it will be fun for sure.
Agree, you will never see anyplace so beautiful anywhere else. I can't wait to do it again next year.
Thank you RedRox and Bornfree.. This is very helpful.
Every answer to your post has mentioned hwy 12. There is no other better way.
Thanks to everyone who suggested Hwy 12. We just came back from our trip. Hwy 12 is definitely one of the best.