Escalante Things to Do

  • Homestead Overlook, Boulder Mountain
    Homestead Overlook, Boulder Mountain
    by Assenczo
  • The Hogback Overlook, Calf Creek
    The Hogback Overlook, Calf Creek
    by Assenczo
  • Kiva Koffeehouse Overlook, Escalante River
    Kiva Koffeehouse Overlook, Escalante...
    by Assenczo

Most Recent Things to Do in Escalante

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    Scenic it is!

    by Assenczo Updated Oct 6, 2014

    Some of the highlights include the Red Canyon, a very convincing precursor of the Bryce Canyon. Further east the Kiva Koffeehouse establishment is tucked away not far beyond the town of Escalante itself in the schism of red stone along the Escalante River. Yet farther east is the vertigo causing Hogback Outlook with a 360 degree view of Calf Creek and the surroundings. The road here is climbing on an edge of a hill with terrifying vertical drops on both sides into the ravines of creek canyons. Later on comes the key outpost of Boulder and the tough decision which way to go – continue further on the scenic byway or turn into the desolate cow country of the Burr Trail. While shorter visually on the map the Burr (named after a cowboy hero of the previous century) Trail is a slower road with a possible impasse if the ferry at the Glen Canyon is out of commission. Route 12 has no problems of this nature and after a battery recharger in the form of classical espresso in Boulder coffee house one continues on to the greatest view point ever in the area. Homestead Overlook is just minutes away from the eastern outskirts of Boulder but well placed high up on the ridge of its namesake mountain. From here one can finally realise what Escalante Grand Staircase actually is. From right to left a superb row of descending plateaus reveals itself in front of the eyes of the beholder. If he were a giant he would have been able to step down all the way from the Table Cliff Plateau to the Colorado taking one level at a time. Clear weather is indispensible to appreciate the benefits of the next lookout. The Lard Hollow Overlook presides over beautiful expanse of land chiselled by the Capitol Reef Park and framed by the Henry Mountains at the back. This high-altitude view is a great way to stimulate the appetite and crank up the anticipation for the next set of industrially-looking natural wonders coming along the route 24 to Hanksville.

    Kiva Koffeehouse Overlook, Escalante River The Hogback Overlook, Calf Creek Homestead Overlook, Boulder Mountain Larb Hollow Overlook, Capitol Reef/Henry Mountains Caineville Mesa
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    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Veteran's Memorial Park

    by blueskyjohn Updated Sep 27, 2014

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    As it turned out it was Memorial Day 2014 when I was in Escalante looking for a park to eat breakfast. At the Grand Staircase visitor center, a ranger informed me of a park in town.

    The park did not fit our needs because, although they have a covered pavilion and picnic tables, they do not allow camp stoves so we could not make breakfast. However, the park turns out to be a memorial park for veterans from Escalante and Boulder.

    I took the time to pay my respects. I was amazed at the number of people that served in every war from these two small communities. Most of interest is groups of the same last names. Many members of the same families served in different wars.

    Thank you for your service.

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    • Historical Travel

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    Visit the Heritage Center

    by Segolily Updated Jun 6, 2014

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    A rather new building to explain a very old tale. This place is at the north of town right by the entrance sign. It will be one of the first things you see entering from that direction. This tells the short history of the town. With artifacts, a short video, an replica wagon, old photos, and other minutia from a time not really so long ago you can get a sense of the people who first settled here.

    This is place not too far down the highway from the Hole in the Rock road. This is so named because a group of pioneers from Panguitch (by Bryce Canyon) were on their way to the area around the San Juan River in the 4 corners area. They had heard there was a short cut across the Colorado River near Escalante, and came this way to find it. They were among the first to cross the desert southeast of town following the 50 mile ridge of Straight Cliffs. However when they reached the Colorado River canyon there was no way for wagons and oxen to get down the cliffs. So they spent 6 weeks making a "hole in the rock". This amazing feat of determination is also commemorated here. If you find yourself in Bluff, near Monument Valley, you'll be able to see the town they settled once they arrived and visit the reconstructed fort.
    The "hole in the rock" is now only partially viewable as it was inundated by the rising waters of Lake Powell.

    Wagon at the Historic Center A view of the
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    Take a Historic District tour

    by Segolily Updated Feb 12, 2014

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    Now, this tour won't be of any place fancy, nothing like that exists in Escalante. However, the town has put together a brochure listing all 200+ structures which were built around the 1900's and continue to survive. This has now been designated into an National Historic District. Some of these are nothing more than an old cow barn or shed. Others are the original homes and stores. We picked up the brochure at the gas station, though I saw it in a few other stores as well and would probably be available at the city hall. It is also available for view on the town website. It was good for an hour or so and gave us an whole different perspective of town.

    The plaque on the old Tithing Office states: L.D.S. Tithing Office. This structure, the second oldest building in Escalante, was erected in 1884 of native stone by Mormon Pioneers under the direction of Bishop Andrew P. Schow, Edwin Twitchell, and Thomas Heaps. The stone mason was Morgan Richards. It was used to receive and house the tithing of the people, which was paid in kind and consisted chiefly of produce from the farms and gardens, potatoes, and perishable foods were stored in the basement. The building is now used as a D.U.P. (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers) relic hall.

    Old Tithing office. Former general store.
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    Visit the CCC camp

    by Segolily Written Feb 12, 2014

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    Off to the north of town are the remains of the old Civilian Conservation Camp. During the 1930's this organization was formed to provide work and to perform helpful and needed civic projects. In Escalante the CCC built the road between Escalante and Boulder. It is wild country between the two, and the only way to Boulder until that time was via mule train, which left Boulder cut off during the winter.

    The road they built is known as the Hell's Backbone Road and can now be driven in a passenger car, though it is still dirt, it is maintained and usually in good condition.

    At the camp old cabins and chimneys remain.

    Old CCC quarters Plaque at the top of Hell's Backbone Road Plaque at the old CCC camp Forgotten chimney
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    Watch Local Artists at Work

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 28, 2009

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    This place I stopped late at night was more than interesting. Keven Peterson owns Tribal Sounds, and makes Indian looking drums, but especially hydro wheels. The wheels work on the theory of gravity and Keven spends pain staking time calculating that gravity before building a wheel. He was educated as an engineer. He came out here some 25 years ago, and decided the everyday work world was lacking. So he formulated his talent into something to make a living over time. Keven is reknowned for making drums of all sizes and some other Indian symbols around the US. He also has gained a reputation for the hydro wheels.
    Those hydro wheels are getting big. They get bigger than a man, and after spending maybe a couple of months building one (for orders only), he sells for high price. The best and biggest was around $30,000. The designs he does and the intricate detail blew me away.
    That is why I am dedicating so much time to explain if you get to this area, look him up and see his works. Buying is also a recommendation. There are some lesser costly items. I am not promoting him, but do admire the fine work he does at his pace

    Making of the copper wheel spokes Welding the copper spokes together Other hydro wheels outside Large wheel over 5 feet tall Authentic made drums from skins and sinu
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    Kodachrome Basin State Park

    by Toughluck Written Mar 28, 2008

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    The last time I was here (over 20 years ago), there were no facilities, just a campground that was parking spaces among the brush. Today, it's Kodachrome Basin State Park with hours and fees listed.

    We found it to be an exciting place. We're down among the spires. Where we walk, and drive is relatively flat, but the cliff tower above, there Grovenor Arch and a variety of spires. Below is the description the state park gives of itself.

    Geologists believe Kodachrome Basin State Park was once similar to Yellowstone National Park with hot springs and geysers, which eventually filled up with sediment and solidified. Through time, the Entrada sandstone surrounding the solidified geysers eroded, leaving large sand pipes. Sixty-seven sand pipes ranging from two to 52 meters have been identified in the park. Massive sandstone chimneys, change from gray and white to shades of red depending on the day's mood. Numerous rocks and coves offer solitude, quiet and unique desert beauty.

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    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Hole in the Rock Road

    by Toughluck Updated Mar 28, 2008

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    Hole in the Rock Road was created by a Mormon Expedition heading to the east side of Glen Canyon. It gets it's name from the 'hole' they had to cut into the canyon leading down to the Colorado River. Today, you can drive to the cut and look down upon Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The road traverses the eastern side of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Moument.

    There are numerous stops along the way, some identified on the maps and some, a result of recent activities. Dance Hall Rock is where the Expedition spent time and held a dance. Numerous trails lead from the road into Escalante Canyon and sights of arches and wonderous formations. We didn't actually make it to the end, the 'hole'.

    As we were driving along, we passed through a sand pit on the open 'slick rock'. Our tires spun as I tried to shift down (we were going uphill), and the truck just dug itself into the rock. Yup, the rock, not the sand. Beneath the sand, the road is solid rock, sandstone to be precise. As the tire spun, it turn the stone into sand. We ended up 6" into solid rock. It was hot and the sun had another 4 hours before it set behind the Kaparowitz Plateau (I never got to the Kaparowitz).

    We decided to take a break. Broke out the tarp, covered the camper to provide some more shade and enjoyed an afternoon of reading, taking short hikes and checking out the local vegetation. After the sun went behind the hills, we used an ax to chip out the truck. Had a wonderful evening under the stars, listening to the sounds of night. I the morning, we turned towards town and passed the BLM Ranger, heading out the road for the day.

    Take water, camping equipment and some small tools. You'll enjoy the time you spend.

    Navajo Mountain, seen along the road Map
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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Hike the Escalante River

    by Toughluck Written Dec 20, 2006

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    You can hike the entire Escalante River from town to the Colorado River (Lake Powell). Jim did. He planned for 2 years, watched the weather for over 3 months and set out. You see, it takes almost a week to do the entire length and any rain in the mountains can send a 'flash flood' down the river. Once you're in the deep canyons, you'll never see the rain storms in the mountains, it may never rain on you, but you'll find no place to hide when the wall of water comes ripping down the canyon.
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    You can take a couple of hours to hike up or down the River. We did it from Calf Creek Recreation Area (BLM). You can see the mountains and know if it's cloudy or clear. You can be back before the weather changes and you'll see country that has been undisturbed for years.

    Arch, high in the canyon wall Phipps Canyon off the Escalante
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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Hell's Backbone

    by Toughluck Updated Dec 20, 2006

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    Just a drive in the Mountains. Not quite! The forest roads lead north from Escalante into Dixie National Forest. You'll want to take your time as you go and get out occasionally to get a closer look at the canyons or the forest. As you go, you'll come around turns in the road that look like what you just passed through, until at one turn, you'll see the sky open and the ground drop away. Before you is Hell's Backbone. You may have been alone on your drive, but here, you'll find a traffic jam. Well -----, at least one other car.

    Hell's Backbone is a point studded ridge that drops several hundred if not a 1000 or more feet down, on both sides . An on top of that, literally on top, there is a one lane bridge. The ridge is not wide enough to walk on and a road has been built across it. The posts, are sunk into the step slopes on both sides. I'm surprized that it hasn't splay out on both sides and sent the bridge to the bottom in pieces.

    {I'll find a picture and post it as soon as I can}

    The route
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    Calf Creek Falls (BLM)

    by Toughluck Written Dec 20, 2006

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    The only way to see Calf Creek Falls and Canyon is to take a walk. If you liked Zion National Park , you'll thrill to this. What I liked best was that Calf Creek Canyon is a wonder that is scaled to human size. It's wall rise dramatically upwards, leaving a sliver of sky, so overwhelming because it's narrow and you have to walk, nor drive the 1 plus mile to the end. You'll feel the light breeze against your cheek. The coolness as you near the creek and the warmth of the air in the canyon.

    As you approach the end, the trilling of water will awaken your ears and the smell of moisture and the life it generates will alert your nose to the coming change. Sit and relax along the wide sandy beach beneath the falls and enjoy the sounds and smells all around. I don't recommend swimming, but put your toe in the water. It's around 40 degree F. It comes from up on the mountains from among the snow packs and the cool rock in the earth. I've known several people who tried to reach the bottom of the pool. None of them ever has reached the bottom. Of course, the water has been falling from the lip, several hundred feet above for centuries, digging out the sandstone and creating the beach you're standing on.

    Calf Creek Canyon Calf Creek Falls
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    • Family Travel

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  • Drive Hwy 12 over the...

    by gtmwander Written Oct 5, 2002

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    Drive Hwy 12 over the unbelievably narrow Hogsback, stop by an Anasazi Village, and then drive across the scenic heights of Boulder Mountain
    You might not want to drive the Hogsback if you are scared of heights. We drove south across the Hogsback (heading downhill to Escalante). One minute you are driving across mountains at 9000 feet, next you seem to be driving on a very long and winding narrow ribbon of road (can't call it two lanes wide) with really no shoulders and from the car you can't see land beyond one or two feet on either side of the road. No U-turns recommended! Incredible views.

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Escalante Things to Do

Segolily's Profile Photo

The town of Escalante is base camp for any and all activity in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  The town has slowly morphed from a ranching, logging, mining focus to more...

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