Escalante Area Attractions – Things To Do
1. Grand Staircase Adventure – Hole-In-The-Rock road: Today you’ll venture down the “Hole-in-the-Rock” road and see Devil’s Garden at your first stop. This is a well-graded dirt road and good for most any passenger vehicle. From the Slot Canyons Inn you will travel approximately 10 miles through the town of Escalante to the “Hole-in-the-rock” road. This road became famous in 1880 when young Mormon pioneer families gathered in Escalante and traveled together down this route to the Colorado River. At the river they cut a notch into the rock and descended 1,500 vertical feet with wagons and then ferried on rafts across the Colorado. This trek that was supposed to take a few weeks actually took six months. The road you will travel is now named for the hole that was cut in the edge of the Colorado River cliffs. Just 15 minutes down the road you’ll find signs on your right that point to “Devil’s Garden”. This stop is right off the road. You’ll enjoy this maze of magnificent sandstone formations that spur the imagination and take on mystical shapes. You can walk among the formations and take pictures. Don’t forget your camera for this one. Just a little further down the road – on your right – you may wish to take a walk along a sandstone terrace where Dinosaurs once walked through the mud and left their cumbersome prints (ask for more details about this). From here you have options of pulling out at any of the turn-offs for side canyons such as Coyote Gulch which is near Dance Hall Rock at the 40 mile marker. At Dance Hall Rock the “Hole-in-the-Rock” pioneers stopped and rested at this natural rock amphitheater. Here they danced and sang before entering the more difficult phase of their travels. At the end of “Hole-in-the-Rock” road you will need to exit your vehicle and you may walk several miles to the point where you can see down to what is now Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. You’ll return to the Slot Canyons Inn the way you came.
2. Bryce Canyon & Kodachrome Basin State Park:Just 45 minutes away you’ll find both of these destinations. Kodachrome Basin State Park is a magical place with unique and tall towers of stone. In ancient times this area was the bottom of a great lake and various layers of sediment formed the bottom of the lake. When the lake receded, thermal geysers began to push their way to the surface of the dry lake bed carving vertical tubes in the sediment. At some point in time the geysers ceased to function and a different kind of sediment filled the tubes. Then erosion came into play and cut away the surrounding layers of sediment – leaving the newer sediment (that filled the tubes) standing as tall towers of stone. If you followed all of that, then you now understand how this unique state park came to be. There are unique formations in Kodachrome Basin State Park with trails taking you in every direction. Bryce Canyon National Park is something that amazes people from around the world. This twenty mile long National Park rises from 8,000 feet to 9,000 feet above sea level along a large plateau covered in Ponderosa Pines. The eastern edge of this plateau is a series of natural limestone amphitheaters that have been stained by the oxidation of iron in the sediment. Orange, yellow, ochre and every related color can be found at Bryce Canyon. You may walk along the rim or venture down inside the formations. Looking up from the canyon floor brings a view of the bluest sky and a feeling of awe as you gaze at God’s grandeur. Plan a full day for today.
Petroglyphs – carved or scratched into the rock face.Park your car in the campground area and you may walk along the creek (2.5 miles) to a 136 feet high waterfall. Beaver’s have dammed up many spots on the creek and you’ll see plenty of fish in the shadows. An optional hike (shorter – 1 mile each direction) is the one to Upper Calf Creek Falls (ask us about this). From here you may venture further up Scenic Byway 12 along what is known as the “Hogsback”. Along this part of the road the canyons drop off on either side for approximately 1,000 feet. Remember this is beautifully paved road with many turn-outs for taking pictures. Just a short drive up the road you’ll turn off to the left (west – graded dirt road) and follow the road across Hells Backbone bridge and circle through the forest and come around again to the town of Escalante.
4. Capitol Reef / Boulder / Torrey: You have plenty of options on this day as you venture up in elevation toward the town of Boulder. From Boulder you can venture down the “Burr Trail” (paved with chip seal except in Capitol Reef National Park sections). This road drops down into the Escalante basin and is a spectacular drive with options for walks or hikes all around. Located in Boulder is the Anasazi State Museum with a collection of remnants and information about the “Ancient Ones” who inhabited this region from 200 A.D. to approximately 1,200 A.D. Traveling further up Scenic Byway 12 you will cross the Boulder Mountains at 9,000+ feet and then drop down into the town of Torrey. The views along this corridor are spectacular. Capitol Reef National Park is eight miles from Torrey, and offers a myriad of excellent hikes, walks and opportunities to view ancient Anasazi Pictographs or Petroglyphs. Stop by the visitor’s center for expanded details on what to do and see.
5. Back Country to Barker Reservoir: When you stay with us you are on land that has been occupied for thousands of years by Native Americans. Scientists have documented evidence of humans on our property dating back 10,000 years and this is the oldest known site of its kind in Utah. You can explore the canyons and streams around the property or take a leisurely drive (25 miles – on dirt road) to Barker Reservoir and to the edge of the Aquarius Plateau (highest in North America) There’s more to see and do than can be done in several weeks, so you’ll easily make a day of it.
6. Horseback Riding and/or Slot Canyon Hiking: One of the days you spend with us ought to include an experience riding horseback or walking in our famous area slot canyons. Real cowboys can take you on back-country rides to see spectacular scenery and to learn of the amazing history of the Native Americans and Pioneers that have lived in this area. You don’t need to be an experienced rider to go on these guided trips. Hiking in Slot Canyons ranks right up there with anything else you could do on a trip to this area. Experienced guides will take you to a location that meets your level of walking or hiking skill and will show you the wonders of these narrow rock passages that have been carved by water over thousands of years. The intricate formations are amazing at every turn. Don’t forget your camera for this.
Always remember to take extra water and appropriate clothing for the elements.