The Canyons of Escalante

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Travel Blog

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Calf Creek Falls, Utah: Calf Creek falls.

In the morning I wake up and take a hike at the campground that I stayed at into Calf Creek Falls.  About 2 miles in Calf Creek Falls appears and it is an impressive sight.  It is in a basin in the cliffs and is impressive.   Well worth a morning (or evening) hike from the campground.

I head out onto the road and head my way towards Escalante.  I hit the town of Escalante first to visit the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument headquarters to get a few hints as to where to go and to stock up on a few supplies and grab a sit down lunch.  The headquarters steers me in the right diresction for a few hikes and lets me know what a few of the roads are like. The town of Escalante is a nice little small town out in the middle of nowhere.

Escalante, Utah: Some stone monoliths in the Devils Garden.
  There is a supermarket where I get a few more supplies and I stop and have a burger at a saloonlike diner in town.  Pretty good burger.  Then I head out of town and make for the canyon country of Escalante.  I am going to head south on the Hole in the Rock Road.  My first stop is at what they call the Devils Garden.  It is a landscape of rock sculptures and Hoodoos.  It is nicely laid out like a garden and a great place to see some interesting rock formations.  I head further south on the bumpy road and start looking for a place to camp.  I find a spot on a quiet road near where I am planning on taking a hike. 

The next morning I take the hike into Coyote Canyon where there are two slot canyons.

Escalante, Utah: Some stone monoliths in the Devils Garden.
  If you do it right you can hike up one and come down the other.  I start off by going up Peek-a-boo slot.  It is a neat canyon that starts off pretty narrow and then gets really narrow and you have to squeeze through the windy slot.  Pretty cool, but not if you get claustrophobic.  It gets a little tight.  Eventualy it comes out on top of a bench and you can traverse over to the top of Spooky Slot.  Spooky slot is a V at the top and you can tell that it is a major enough channel to be the slot canyon.  It is pretty windy and there are a couple of spots where you have to drop down and crawl through.  There are a couple of interesting arch formations toward the bottom. It is a scramble back down to the main stream bed and you are out of it.
Escalante, Utah: The opening to Peek-a-boo slot canyon.
  A cool slot canyon experience.  Not all that time consuming either for the time crunched traveler. 

After exploring the slots I head further south on Hole in the Rock road to get to Hole in the Rock.  It is a long road and towards the very end there is one spot where the road climbs up over a rock ledge.  I scout it out and the new truck crawls up it without a problem or even a scrape on the bottom.  It is a mile or so to the end of the road where you can hike down Hole in the Rock, which is a cleft in the cliff that leads steeply down to Lake Powell.  It is a great spot to hike down and take a dip in the lake after camping for several days.   I head back north and crawl back down the ledge,  when you go over the lip of it you lose sight of the sky it is so steep.

Escalante,Utah: Inside Peek-a-boo slot.
  Pretty fun.  There are a few other smaller ledges along the way too.  I find a sweet spot to camp at next to a slickrock dome and a few trees.  Pretty lucky to find a spot like this out in the middle of the Utah desert.  There is a great spot on top of the dome to watch the sunset. 

The next day I head west towards another spot in Grand Staircase.  I take a 4 wheel drive road called Left Collet.  On my way to the interesection with Left Collet road on the Hole in the Rock road I come across a cattle drive.  They are driving their cattle down the road.  There are probably 200 cows going down the road.  The "cowboys" tell me I can just push my way into the cows and drive though them.  I do that and it is prety cool.

Escalante,Utah: Inside Peek-a-boo slot.
  I get through them in about 10 minutes and find my junction up Left Collet road.  The road is not too dificult.  We had gotten a little bit of rain and the road follows a streambed for a little bit so there was a little mud.  The hardest part was a little ledge that you have to keep you momentum up to scoot over it.  Once at the top you reach what is called a scenic route.  It is a nice drive along ridgetops looking into canyons and then winds down into Glen Canyon National recreation area after 30 or so miles.  I push on towards my next campsite which I hope to find on the Cottonwood road that heads north and towards Bryce Canyon.  I find a nice spot next to the dry streambed of Cottonwood Creek which is after where the Paria River disappears from sight along this road.
Escalante, Utah: The top of Spooky slot canyon.
  There is a foundation for an old house and it feels like an old homestead site.

The next morning I take a hike up towards Yellow Dome.  I found the decription for this hike in a book and I head out to do it.  Halfway though the hike the trail is supposed to wind down a canyon along a trail and do a loop back along the Paria River but the trail peeters out into nothingness.  There are deer trails to confuse things too.  So I give up on the idea of the trail and try to head down one of the canyons that lead down into the Paria.  I head through some pretty rugged country and eventually end up at a spot where the stream goes over a cliff.  End of the line. Especially sinse I am alone and noone knows where I am.

Escalante, Utah: In spooky slot canyon.
  I am not too keen on hiking back the way I came because it was pretty rugged so I get up on a little rise and scout out a way back.  I can just see Yellow Top's slickrock dome and I make my way through the rugged coutry back to near where I started.  That was some pretty fun route finding.  I may have been half way lost but it was some good hiking.  From there I head up the Cottonwood Road and see some interesting geology along the way.  Pretty spectacular.  Towards the end there is a side road that gets you to Grosvenor Arch.  There are postcards of this arch so you feel like you need to go see this Arch.  It is OK.  Maybe all this beautiful Utah scenery taints your attitude towards the scenery. 

The Escalante Canyons were an interesting area.  I wish I had had more time to explore more of the hiking possibilities into some of the backcountry canyons.  Maybe next time.

Jennica11 says:
Thanks for blogging. This is the only blog in Travbuddy on Escalante. The pictures are great too!
Posted on: Aug 22, 2009
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Calf Creek Falls, Utah:  Calf Cree…
Calf Creek Falls, Utah: Calf Cre…
Escalante, Utah:  Some stone monol…
Escalante, Utah: Some stone mono…
Escalante, Utah:  Some stone monol…
Escalante, Utah: Some stone mono…
Escalante, Utah:  The opening to P…
Escalante, Utah: The opening to …
Escalante,Utah:  Inside Peek-a-boo…
Escalante,Utah: Inside Peek-a-bo…
Escalante,Utah:  Inside Peek-a-boo…
Escalante,Utah: Inside Peek-a-bo…
Escalante, Utah:  The top of Spook…
Escalante, Utah: The top of Spoo…
Escalante, Utah:  In spooky slot c…
Escalante, Utah: In spooky slot …
Escalante, Utah:  The pourout of S…
Escalante, Utah: The pourout of …
Escalante, Utah:  Coyote Canyon wh…
Escalante, Utah: Coyote Canyon w…
Escalante,Utah:  The step ledge se…
Escalante,Utah: The step ledge s…
Escalante, Utah:  Hole in the Rock…
Escalante, Utah: Hole in the Roc…
Escalante, Utah:  The trail going …
Escalante, Utah: The trail going…
Escalante, Utah:  Lake Powell at t…
Escalante, Utah: Lake Powell at …
Escalante, Utah:  My campsite at s…
Escalante, Utah: My campsite at …
Escalante, Utah:  Near my campsite…
Escalante, Utah: Near my campsit…
Escalante, Utah:  Going up Left Ha…
Escalante, Utah: Going up Left H…
Escalante, Utah:  A view along the…
Escalante, Utah: A view along th…
Escalante, Utah:  Coming down a gr…
Escalante, Utah: Coming down a g…
Escalante, Utah:  On a hike and lo…
Escalante, Utah: On a hike and l…
Escalante,Utah:  Yellow Dome along…
Escalante,Utah: Yellow Dome alon…
Escalante, Utah:  A pool of water …
Escalante, Utah: A pool of water…
Escalante, Utah:  Hiking off trail…
Escalante, Utah: Hiking off trai…
Escalante, Utah:  Hiking off trail…
Escalante, Utah: Hiking off trai…
Escalante, Utah:  Cottonwood Road.
Escalante, Utah: Cottonwood Road.
Escalante, Utah:  Cottonwood Road.
Escalante, Utah: Cottonwood Road.
Escalante, Utah:  Grosvenor Arch.
Escalante, Utah: Grosvenor Arch.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
photo by: swhayden