Bryce Canyon/Escalante Utah
We left Hurricane, Utah, on May 11th and traveled to Escalante, Utah. Escalante is a tiny little town with a population of around 813. We pulled into the campground called Canyons of Escalante RV Park. This is a “no frills” campground, but it is cute, and the people here were very friendly.
|Entrance to the campground!|
Before I start, the elevation here is almost 6000 feet. When we pulled in, Izzy (our dog) became weak and dizzy, and her appetite was non-existent. We struggled for a few days to figure out what we would do with her. Over time we were just patient; in some respects, we nursed her back to health and celebrated her 15th birthday. As you would expect for her age, she is still fragile but has improved immensely.
|Izzy on her 15th Birthday!|
So, with all that being said, we didn’t slow down on our touristy things; we just readjusted and took her with us if we felt we would be out for more than 4-5 hrs.; or modified trips to make sure we were not gone as long as we usually would be.
Places we explored, while we were here consisted of:
Hell’s Backbone - Hell's Backbone is a rugged area that bridges between towering Boulder Mountain on the north and canyons cut by the Escalante River and its tributaries on the south. The Hells Backbone Road is a winding, mostly gravel road. The route follows ridges and mountain contours through the area. We started the route from Escalante toward Boulder. Following the road to where it connects back to the All-American Highway 12 south of Boulder. The scenery here was amazing.
Singing Canyon on Burr Trail Road -This place is not marked. Along the rugged backway, there were many great sights to see along this road however, to catch the slot canyon, you need to pay attention to your mileage as you will fly right by at 35 m.p.h. But of all the stops on Burr, there’s nothing like the little slot canyon at an inconspicuous turnoff 11.2 miles from the starting point at the intersection of UT 12 and Burr trail road. Some locals of Boulder, Utah, call this slot canyon on the Burr Trail “Singing Canyon.” When you go, you will know exactly why.
On our way back to the RV park, we had lunch at the Burr Trail grill; the food was excellent. The Restaurant is located at the turnoff of UT-12 and Burr Trail road.
Devil's Garden-The Devil's Garden Outstanding Natural Area is a miniature wonderland of Navajo Sandstone hoodoos, domes, narrow passages, and small arches. To get there, you need to travel along Hole-in-the-Rock Road for about 12 miles. The road is gravel and has rough washboard sections, though the day we were traveling on it, the grader worked to smooth out some of the worst sections.
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park – This place was fun for a small 1.5-mile hike. The day we were there, the temps were warm, and the skies were gray, which meant it could rain at any moment. It didn’t, but we felt a few drops as we returned to the start of the trailhead. There is camping here and a day-use fee. If you want a small, easy hike and beautiful scenery, it's a lovely place to explore.
Bryce Canyon National Park – We took Izzy with us on this day as we knew it would be a long day as it was 2-hour roundtrip from our RV Park to the National Park entrance, and we didn’t want her to be alone for too long. We didn’t do any hikes, but we did drive the Southern scenic drive and snapped many pictures. The scenic route is also called UT-63. You can access an audio recording on the National Parks app, and you will have your own personal narrator as you drive and view the beauty here in this NP. The audio tour is set up to start at the southernmost point and travel north to the park entrance.
At one of our stops, we ran into a friend we had traveled to Alaska with last summer, Steve! Steve is originally from Wisconsin but travels much of the year in his compact Class C motorhome and his dog Baxter. It was great seeing Steve; we chatted briefly and then continued on our way on the self-guided tour.
|We ran into our friend Steve!|
Bryce Canyon is a must-see if you are in the area; keep in mind that it is a major tourist draw; go early and plan for crowds and many cars. Remember that they do have a shuttle, which may be a better option depending on your plans while visiting.
Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail – We took one day and did a hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls. Lower Calf Creek Falls is a gorgeous 126-foot waterfall in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It gets its name because its box-like canyon was used as a natural pen for calves in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
|Once you make it to the falls, it's all worth it!|
This hike was a 6-mile round trip for us. This was not one of my favorites by far, but I did it. I don’t like hiking in the sand, especially going uphill. Honestly, it makes me say bad words (@###%%$%$%), But we did it, and once you reach the falls, it’s all worth it. The calories I burned that day made it “doubly” worth it! (HEE!)
Willis Creek Slot Trail – Mark found this hike and thought we’d try it. Boy-O-boy, we were not disappointed at all. It was about an hour from our campground and near the Kodachrome Basin State Park (which we drove through after our hike). When we arrived, we were one of the first people to arrive that morning. We took off, and not knowing what to expect, we were not disappointed. We hiked through slot canyons, jumped the creek, stepped on stones, climbed rocks, listened to the bird's chirp, and heard the trickling of water as we enjoyed our 3.6 miles out & back almost 2-hour drive time exploring a piece of the Grand Staircase. I give this hike a 10/10.
|Beautiful hike through the slot canyons!|
Even though the town of Escalante is tiny, we were pleasantly surprised by its excellent restaurants.
4th West Pub – We ate at This cute little place upon arrival. They have great sandwiches, fries, a full bar, and an excellent atmosphere.
George’s Outdoor Mexican Café- This little “food truck” is on the campground. I am not a fan of food trucks, but I was not disappointed with the food here. I had fish tacos, and Mark had chicken enchiladas, and we were over the moon happy with our dinner.
Escalante Outfitters – This pizza place also offers cabins and gear of all types. We sat outside, and Mark had a beer, me a glass of wine and a pizza, enjoyed a dinner salad, and relaxed in the warm evening weather. The pizza was delicious, and I promise you will not be disappointed.
Circle D – Wow! What a fantastic atmosphere, and the food was the bomb. I had a patty melt, Mark had the grilled chicken sandwich, and both were to die for. Vast amounts of food (we took ½ home for dinner.) The music that was playing made for a nice relaxing ambiance. Quite a few people were in there, some enjoying beer, others drinking lattes. It caters to different crowds, so I’m sure you could find what you want here.
They also have a motel attached that looks really cute and clean. A great place to stay in the area rather than camping.
|Circle D's is a great place to hang out!|
Escalante is a beautiful place to explore; there is so much to see and do. Come with an open mind and take in all Utah offers. We loved it and will definitely be back!