Remote area, still unblemished by too many people!
Tougher to explore than other Utah parks. 4WD highly recommended
This what the West was like! Still here for the adventerous!
Escalante has four visitor centers and a few field offices. The one mentioned here is in the northern district in the town of Escalante. Clean bathrooms and very helpful staff. They do not have a gift store exactly, especially not like a national park. This is a good place to start and ask questions about road conditions and slot canyons. They also...more
Lower Calf Creek Fall is easy to find. After coming down out of the Henry Mountains (if you are coming from Hanksville) you will see an entrance for Calf Creek Recreation Area. The trail head is just down the road from the parking lot, walking towards the campsites.The trail is very nice and strolls along the Calf Creek for about three miles. About...more
One of the more accessible slot canyons in the monument Willis Creek is a perpetual water source in the dry desert. Driving up from Kanab via the Johnson Canyon road you pass Lick Gorge and Bull Valley Gorge along the way and can make exploring all of them a day long excursion. Plan a long half day if just coming to Willis Creek.Willis has a golden...more
The view from the restaurant is wonderful, perched as it is above the Escalante river canyon. This is a wonderful place to rest along highway 12. The building was lovingly made from native materials in the echo of an ancient kiva. The food is healthy, hearty and earth friendly. Ask for a smoothie to take on the road.more
It was all good and plenty to satisfy the palate. They get a pretty good crowd at breakfast because not all places are open then in town. The burger with fires and all you can eat salad bar was just what I needed. It more than filled me up without the price setting me backmore
There are literally no places to eat close to the White House campground. In fact, there aren't any close to any of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument attractions. Kanab is the closest town of any size in Utah and Page is the biggest town but that's over 30 miles away. When we were out there, gas was well over $4 a gallon so we weren't...more
Night life in the monument will be limited to what you bring with you. But one thing you'll most likely be able to count on will be stars like you've never seen them before. Bring a star finder so you can know what you are looking at. Enjoy the Milky Way, Scorpio, the summer triangle, Cygnus, Hercules, the Big and Little Dipper, most likely a...more
The evenings at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are wonderful but not if you are looking for a club to dance the night away or even a small pub. You'd have to drive to Page, AZ or Kanab, UT to find much of anything even resembling that. But for those who love nature, sitting around camp, having a few beers with some tasty snacks can be...more
This is a remote area with no mass transit. You will have to have some type of vehicle to get around. A car allows you not only shelter from the considerable elements but also the ability to cart all the gear around you'll need to explore this paradise.
Route 89 is a fantastic paved scenic road that goes through the Monument to Page, AZ. Every way you look, it's another "oh wow" view. It's about 60 miles and two hours from Zion National Park to Paria Ranger Station in the Staircase. It's another 40 miles and 40 minutes down to Page from there.
But the best scenery is down dirt roads. These tracks are not passable in truly wet weather and passable only by high clearance four-wheel drive in less wet conditions. We did many of them in a Camry when it was dry. Be sure to check at the ranger station for current conditions and keep an eye out for the weather. The drive up Cottonwood Canyon Road from Route 89 up towards Bryce Canon National Park might not save you any time but you'll see a whole world you would miss otherwise.
Thank goodness for the food store. There really is not much of anything if you are driving the back roads and scenic byways to Zion National Park from Goblin Valley. They have everything you need but not much on fresh fruit or vegetable. No deli counter but they do have packaged deli meat.more
A lot of people complain that Wal-Mart is taking over the world, that they are putting local stores out of business. All of that might be true but we found them to be the best place to load up on supplies. Not only do they have the best prices but in out-of-the-way areas like Southern Utah/Northern Arizona, they have the best selection too. Not...more
There are no fences to hole back the cattle, so they may be right along the roadside to get that greener grass. A National Park Service Ranger had 300 head grazing in and area about 20X20 miles range. They go out every 2-3 weeks to check on the herd. In winter they go out on horseback, or ATV to round up the herd. Many take a long time to find.more
Unlike most National Park or Recreation Areas, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument does not charge you to enter. The simple fact is it covers a big area and Route 89 runs the length of it for free. If you are content to just drive through as many do on their way to more famous sights, then it is your as well as the park's loss. Even the the...more
There are no showers close to the White House Campground so this was one of our longest stretches going without. But we did find one when we needed it most. We didn't spend a lot of time at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area but we did use their great amenities. We camped there one night and found it a great place to picnic as well. Not only did...more
To access Peek-a-boo slot canyon it is necessary to make a 20 foot climb up into the slot. It is a climb on sandy slick rock that is near vertical. Fortunately they have slight sloping steps called Moki steps to help ascend. Don't misunderstand, these steps only slightly help. The trick is to keep moving and don't keep your body too close to the...more
While checking in at the visitor center is always a good idea to see if roads are open, they can also give you some information how much if any water is in the slot canyons. People will report their experiences and rangers may also be in the slots and report back. Its always worth asking about specific slots. The depth of the water varies. Be...more
If you hike Spooky slot canyon, only enter the slot after you exit Peek-a-boo slot as part of a loop hike. Do not attempt Spooky as an in and out hike. The slot is very narrow and there is no place to pass people or let them by. Most people will be coming down the slot which is also much easier to negotiate.more
We had just finished hiking out of The Wave and were looking forward to getting back to our car when we were approached by a German woman. She didn't realize that my wife was German so spoke in English and implored us to give her our permits. She even offered to buy it at one point after we refused. We explained that the Bureau of Land Management had enacted the 20 hiker limit as they wanted to protect the fragile area from overuse. If too many people walk around the The Wave, it will soon be just more sand in the desert.
Fun Alternatives: She was obviously disappointed but she could have done as we did and waited out getting one of the elusive permits. We did the hike after four nights of camping in the area and while some might argue that they don't have the time to do that, there is a lot to see and do in this amazing area. Enjoy the incredible if primitive campground, hike Buckskin Gulch, Wire Pass, and any number of other nice walks while you wait your turn to enjoy The Wave in a more eco-friendly way. Part of The Wave's appeal is its exclusivity. Something tells me if everyone could do The Wave, she might not have really wanted to do it so badly anyway.
No hotels, no lodges are in the monument. If you're going to camp, come prepared with as little as you need. Canyons are narrow. Plan to base camp and then explore with a small day pack carrying food, water, first aid, and/or rain gear. Actually, go prepared for sunny and hot. It it rains! Stay out of the canyons. Did you hear that?? Flash floods...more
Look into one of the new mesh backpacks if planning a backcountry trip. We didn't do one but can imagine carrying a wet backpack (and all the extra weight) for miles wouldn't be much fun. Sturdy boots are needed for the tricky terrain and to protect ankles but water sandals are handy for crossing wet patches in the slot canyons. Sun hat and...more
Spooky Slot Canyon runs parallel with Peek-a-boo slot canyon and is usually done as part of a loop hike. When you exit Peek-a-boo slot canyon, walk about 100 feet to the right and you will see a cairn marking a trail going up a small hill. There are many trails weaving through here but they all lead to the same area.Continue until you reach a sandy...more
Peek-a-boo slot canyon is a great day hike if you can find it. It is a good idea to check with the rangers station in the town of Escalante to see what the water level is. In early March there could be some water to negotiate. As with any slot canyon, do not try this hike if the forecast calls for rain.From the trail head, walk down into the...more
Escalante is great. You will definitely enjoy it. If you hike Pee-a-boo and spooky as a loop, be sure to go up Peek-a-boo and down spooky. Two reasons, trying to down climb out of Peek-a-boo can be nerve racking to say the least, unless you are an avid climber. An in and out hike of Peek-a-boo is not recommended without some climbing experience....more
Hiking at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument poses all the dangers of hiking in any desert area. Exposure to sun and heat are tantamount and you should take steps to protect yourself from both over exposure and dehydration. You are not going to find some babbling creek here so put away the water filter and get ready to carry all the water you will need and that is four liters per day per person.
Equipment: While hiking in true boots is a bit hot in this climate, it is the safest and ultimately most comfortable course of action. You'll be traversing lots of tricky terrain and a twisted ankle or bloody toe could be your reward for hiking in sandals. Sunscreen and sunglasses should be a given and you'll soon regret not having them after walking in this largely shadeless country.
Aside from the climatic difficulties, hiking in the Monument requires some navigational skills. You will be quite often hiking on non-marked trails so common sense and paying attention to where you are going and just came from are essential. The Wave in particular is a tricky hike. The park service gives you a map and photos that help guide you there but you are all on your own coming back. Take time to look back as you hike to The Wave, it will help you a lot on your return.
I have camped many times in this area and on occasion spend many days in the wilderness. When I am done it is nice to take a shower. If you don't want to get a hotel room, your best option is to drive about 30 minutes to Kodechrome State Park which has a public shower for about $2. It is a blessing in the desert.more
There is a trailer park located just down the road from the national monument visitor center, on the same side of the road toward the town of Escalante. The showers are clean but beware the hot water does not last long. I found on my last visit they like to boast their four large water heaters but they fail to tell you they are on vacation mode, at...more
We had stopped by the small backcountry ranger station called White House the day before where a helpful if a bit disgruntled ranger explained “the rules” to us. It seemed he had done this a few too many times and was surprised at how little we knew about it. Basically, 20 people per day get permits to hike to The Wave. The 10 that plan ahead get...more
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