In this page, you will find informations and advices we can give, based on our experience
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument - Utah
"Escalante and Burr Trail area"
What to do if you have little time : Highway 12
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, with an area of about 1,87 millions acres is full of sights to visit. As a result, you can easily spend 2 to 3 days or more there (you'll find plenty to keep you busy even if you stay a week).
Many of these sites are on the Hole in the Rock Road, a 62 miles long trail that can quickly become impassable after heavy rains. In dry weather, it is passable for any taller car except for the last 5 miles, which require a 4WD. However, if you want to venture on the secondary tracks, they are often sandy and a 4WD is imperative. Ask about road conditions at the BLM in Escalante.
The other popular trail is Cottonwood Canyon Road with its iconic sites such as Yellow Rock and Grosvenor Arch. Again, the trail becomes impassable during heavy rains. The very sticky clay can keep you trapped. Ask about the weather conditions before you go.
Perhaps less well known are the Skutumpah Road and Johnson Canyon Road areas, which also have their own attractions, such as Willis Creek and Johnson Canyon, respectively. Finally, around Escalante are a few sights including Lower Calf Creek Fall, the Burr Trail which allows you to leave the National Monument to the east, passing through fabulous scenery, and finally the magnificent Highway 12.
- It is often very hot, between 95°F and 104°F in summer, and very dry. Because of the often difficult weather conditions, it is necessary to bring plenty of water.
- It is imperative to check the condition of the trails, no matter which one, before going on them: they can all be treacherous. Even if the weather is good but the forecast indicates that it will rain, you should not use them. If you get stuck, it can take a long time to fix the problem and it can be very expensive!
- Don't miss the pizzas at Outfitters Campground Restaurant in Escalante. They are delicious and huge. Special mention for the Kings Mesa!
Lower Calf Creek Fall
3,4 miles one way
Half a day
A beautiful waterfall on rocks of differnt colours : green, yellow, orange ... To enjoy being alone at the foot of the waterfall, it is better to arrive early and picnic on the spot.
The hike to the waterfalls is about 6,8 miles roundtrip. It presents no difficulty apart of some sand in some places.
Access : follow US 12 toward east for 16,8 miles. The parking for the trailhead is down to the left. The trailhead is located at the "Calf Creek Campground".
There are mythical routes in the West like Route 66. But there are others, less renowned, whose beauty has no equal. Route 12, which is known as Scenic Drive, is one of them. The landscapes are breathtaking : Bryce Canyon, Escalante, Calf Creek (dizzy portion) and ends just before Capitol Reef to leave its place on Route 24, no less superb.
The Burr Trail, on the other hand, is a road long of a little more than 62 miles from one end to the other. One of its peculiarities is that it descends into a canyon (Long Canyon) and ends at Glen Canyon. Before that, it crosses Capitol Reef National Park and gives access to the splendid Strike Valley Overlook and its view of Waterpocket Fold.
1 to 2 hours
Highway 12 is an absolutely beautiful road that crosses breathtaking scenery. The part to the east of Escalante goes through passes with the vacuum on each side of the road. Viewpoints mark out this road. You must stop as often as possible. In autumn, the northern part of the road, covered with trees, takes yellow colors.
Access : from Escalante, take highway 12 eastward.
Burr Trail Road
2 to 3 hours
The Burr Trail Road is a road that starts from Boulder. From the beginning, the landscapes are very beautiful and very different from what awaits us thereafter. We are indeed surrounded by hills of pale yellow slickrock. We then reach a plateau, then after several miles we go down into a narrow canyon in places (Long Canyon). The cliffs are steep and of the most beautiful orange. Here, you'll see hoodoos of colors which we're not used : pale pink and ocher. A slot canyon is easily accessible on the side of the road. This one is narrow and very high, but very short, and its entrance is planted with trees. Shrubs have managed to grow on the canyon walls. The exit of Long Canyon is also very beautiful with its colorful badlands. The continuation of the track is more monotonous.
Access : from Boulder, take the Burr Trail Road and continue as far as desired, going at least down to Long Canyon.
We have tested :
Copyright Magali and David BELLEC