In this page, you will find informations and advices we can give, based on our experience
Escalante National Monument - Utah
What to do if you have little time : Devil's Garden and Willis Creek
Escalante National Monument is a place full of sights to visit. Therefore, you can easily spend 2 to 3 days or even more (you will find something to worry about even if you stay for 1 week). However, many of these sites are on the Hole in the Rock Road, a 62-miles long track that can quickly become impassable after heavy rains and remains difficult, even in dry weather in some places. It is therefore imperative to have a 4WD with a high clearance. It is also necessary to inquire about the state of the road at the BLM in Escalante.
Tip : it is often very hot, between 95° and 104°F in summer, and very dry. Because of the often difficult weather conditions, it is imperative to provide plenty of water.
Do not miss the pizzas at the Outfitters Campground Restaurant. They are delicious and enormous. Special Mention for the Kings Mesa !
This is one of the best tours near Escalante. Better to go in late afternoon to enjoy the colors of the sunset. The site is quite small and has rock formations of different shapes: arches, "hoodoos" ... Devil's Garden is also a great place for starry night amateurs.
Photo Tip : for night pictures, the only requirement is to have an SLR camera and a tripod of course. The best is to have a lens with a large aperture and / or a camera that can climb high enough in the ISO. With a wide angle (15-20mm) lens, you can try exposures up to 10 or 12 seconds before the stars begin to form streaks.
Access : on US 12, take the Hole in the Rock Road for 12.5 miles. Take care: this is a fairly rugged trail. This portion of the road is easily practicable for all types of vehicles.
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".
Nice easy hike in a canyon that sometimes narrows, with nice colors. Willis Creek is not very crowdy.
Access : from Cannonville, drive South on Main street (Kodachrome Road) for 2,8 miles. Take the track on your right (Skutumpah Road BLM500). This road is unpaved. It's merely a trac, but this one is good and accessible to every cars, provided it's dry. Follow this track for 6 miles to the parking on the right. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road.
Short easy hike of about 2 miles roundtrip to admire some brown and white hoodoos. First you see Toadstool Hoodoos (brown). Rimrocks hoodoos are on the left (West), when walking along the rim. The site is small and not crowded. It's usual to be alone there.
Photo tip : to get a good light on Toadstool, you should come here in late afternoon. For Rimrocks, you must come earlier because they are quickly immersed in the shade.
650 feet one way
High white arch less known. The site is very small and very isolated. The hike is easy, short and partly paved, quite surprising here !
Access from South (Page) : from Glen Canyon dam, take the US 89 North for 25 miles. Turn right onto the Cottonwood Canyon Road (track) for 29.2 miles. Turn right for 1 mile. Parking is on the left. It is imperative to learn about the Cottonwood Road conditions before venturing there. It is not uncommon that this one is impracticable in August and September because of the violent storms (flash floods) which severely damage the track.
Access from North (Cannonville) : from Cannonville, head south on Main Street (also called Kodachrome Road) for 2.5 miles. This road becomes the Cottonwood Road. Keep going straight. After 4.6 miles, the road becomes a track. This one is practicable if there was no storm in the previous days. It is better to inquire about the condition of the track at the visitor's center in Cannonville before venturing on it. Take this trail for 9.6 miles. Turn left for 1 mile. Parking is on the left.
Tunnel and Zebra Slots
Hike of 7,5 miles roundtrip which provides access to two slots canyons. At about 2 miles from the start of the hike, you arrive at a wash. If you take this wash to the right (South-East) you will head to Tunnel Slot. Walking to the left (Northeast) you will go to Zebra Slot.
When we visited in 2013, they were flooded and we were not able to venture there. It is therefore imperative to inform you about the state of the canyons before going there.
Be careful, there is very little shade on the trail.
Access : on US 12, take Hole in the Rock Road for 8 miles. Just after a cattle fence, park in a parking lot on the right. The start of the hike is across the road from the parking lot.
Dry Fork and Spooky Gulch
0,6 mile one way
2 to 3 hours
Hike that leads to several slots canyons: Dry Fork, Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulch.
From the car park, just follow the cairns down to the bottom of the canyon. Dry Fork is located immediately on the left. As to Spooky Gulch, it is further to the right. This slot canyon narrows as we progress. Peek-a-Boo is between those canyons.
Access : on US 12, take the Hole in the Rock Road for 25 miles and then on the left a trail indicating Dry Fork Coyote Gulch for another 1.8 miles. Take care : this is a fairly rugged trail. With a normal car (not a 4WD), it took us 2:15 !
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Loop of 1 mile
20$ entrance & campground
This State Park offers 3 short walks :
- Petrified Wood Cove : 160 yards
- Petrified Forest Trail : 1 mile loop. The beginning of this hike starts with a good climb of 200 feet of elevation. You can see petrified wood.
- Sleeping Rainbows Trail : this 0,75 mile loop, very steep, is an extension of Petrified Forest Trail. It is on this part that we can see the most impressive pieces of petrified wood.
Access : the park is located on US 12, 1 mile west of the town of Escalante.
We have tested :
Copyright Magali and David BELLEC