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Exploring Escalante: 7 Things You Must Do During Your Trip

Welcome, fellow adventurers, to the untamed beauty of Escalante, Utah! Nestled in the heart of the American Southwest, this gem is bursting with epic landscapes, hidden trails, and unforgettable experiences. If you’re planning a trip to this breathtaking wonderland, let’s make sure you don’t miss out on the best it has to offer. 

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1. Book a Guided Tour of the Grand Staircase-Escalante

Let’s kick things off with the absolute must-do: booking a guided tour of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This is one of the best things to do in Escalante Utah. It isn’t just a tour; it’s an adventure into the wild that you’ll never forget. Why guided, you ask?

Well let’s face it, the Grand Staircase-Escalante is vast, and its terrain is as challenging as it is beautiful. Having an experienced guide ensures you see the highlights while staying safe. These guides know the best spots, from the iconic Devil’s Garden with its whimsical rock formations to the hidden gems like Zebra Slot Canyon. 

Why a Guided Tour? 

● Expert Knowledge – Learn about the geology, history, and wildlife from someone who knows the area inside out. 

● Safety – Navigating the rugged terrain can be tricky. A guide ensures you stay on the right path and avoid any potential hazards. 

● Maximize Your Experience – See more in less time and discover places you might miss if you were exploring on your own. 

Exploring Escalante: 7 Things You Must Do During Your Trip
Nestled in the heart of the American Southwest, Escalante is bursting with epic landscapes, hidden trails, and unforgettable experiences.

2. Hike to Calf Creek Falls

No trip to Escalante is complete without hiking to the stunning Calf Creek Falls. This 6-mile round-trip trail is accessible for most fitness levels and rewards you with a spectacular 126-foot waterfall at the end. As you hike, you’ll pass by ancient rock art and granaries left by the Fremont people, adding a historical twist to your adventure. 

Tips for the Hike 

● Start Early – Beat the heat and the crowds by starting your hike early in the morning.

● Bring Plenty of Water – The Utah sun can be relentless. Stay hydrated!

● Wear Sturdy Shoes – The trail can be rocky and uneven in places, so good footwear is essential. 

3. Explore the Slot Canyons 

Slot canyons are narrow, winding gorges carved by water over millions of years, and Escalante is home to some of the most breathtaking ones. Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulch are two of the most popular, offering tight squeezes, twists, and turns that are as thrilling as they are beautiful. 

Slot Canyon Safety 

● Check the Weather – Flash floods can occur rapidly in slot canyons. Always check the weather forecast before you go. 

● Know Your Limits – Some sections can be quite challenging. Make sure you’re comfortable with tight spaces and scrambling over rocks. 

● Bring a Friend – It’s always safer to explore slot canyons with a buddy. 


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4. Visit Devil’s Garden 

Imagine a landscape filled with surreal rock formations that look like they belong on another planet. That’s Devil’s Garden for you. This natural playground is perfect for both kids and adults, offering endless opportunities for exploration and photography. 

Highlights of Devil’s Garden 

● Metate Arch – One of the most photographed arches in the area, especially stunning at sunrise or sunset. 

● Hoodoos – These tall, thin spires of rock are scattered throughout the garden, creating a fantastical landscape. 

● Picnic Areas – Pack a lunch and enjoy a meal surrounded by nature’s art. 

5. Drive the Scenic Byway 12 

One of the most scenic drives in America, Byway 12 offers stunning views of red rock cliffs, lush forests, and expansive desert landscapes. Take your time driving this route, stopping at overlooks and trailheads along the way.

Must-See Stops on Byway 12 

● Kiva Koffeehouse – A perfect spot for a coffee break with panoramic views.

● Head of the Rocks Overlook – Provides sweeping views of the Escalante Canyons.

● Anasazi State Park Museum – Learn about the ancient people who once inhabited this area. 

Exploring Escalante: 7 Things You Must Do During Your Trip
There’s something magical about camping under the vast, star-studded skies of Escalante.

6. Camp Under the Stars 

There’s something magical about camping under the vast, star-studded skies of Escalante. Whether you’re an experienced camper or a first-timer, there are plenty of campgrounds and backcountry spots to choose from. 

Camping Tips 

● Reserve Early – Campgrounds can fill up quickly, especially in peak season. Make reservations in advance. 

● Leave No Trace – Help preserve the beauty of Escalante by packing out all your trash and minimizing your impact on the environment. 

● Be Prepared – Nights can get chilly, even in summer. Bring warm clothing and a good sleeping bag. 

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Take a Trek Through Utah: Tips for Exploring its World-Class Mountains.

7. Discover Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

For a unique and fascinating experience, head to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. Here, you can see ancient trees that have turned to stone over millions of years. The park offers short hiking trails, a campground, and a beautiful reservoir for fishing and boating. 

Highlights of the Petrified Forest 

● Petrified Wood – Follow the Petrified Forest Trail to see colorful, fossilized logs.

● Escalante Reservoir – A great spot for a swim or a paddle on a hot day.

● Bird Watching – The park is home to a variety of bird species, making it a haven for bird enthusiasts. 

Wrapping Up Your Escalante Adventure 

Escalante is more than just a destination; it’s a journey into some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth. Whether you’re hiking to a hidden waterfall, navigating the narrow passageways of a slot canyon, or simply soaking in the views from a scenic overlook, every moment in Escalante is a chance to connect with nature and discover something new.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on June 4, 2024

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