Best of the Escalante Region
Kodachrome Basin State Park: Strange-looking rock pillars are the attraction at this state park on the northwestern edge of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. Hiking trails and a campground make this a good base for exploring the monument’s Cottonwood Canyon Road.
The Million-Dollar Road: Although Highway 12 is spectacular for its entire length—from the Red Rocks west of Bryce Canyon National Park to Torrey, near Capitol Reef—this stretch of the highway between Escalante and Boulder was a real feat of engineering when it was built in 1935. Acrophobics should bring blinders.
Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch: This hike down into sinuous slot canyons requires a little bit of driving along the rugged Hole-in-the-Rock Road, but unlike many spectacular Escalante canyon treks, it’s a moderate day hike.
Calf Creek Recreation Area:If your car won’t make it down bumpy dirt roads of the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, don’t worry. Good hikes are just off Highway 12 in the Calf Creek Recreation Area. Lower Calf Creek Falls is a classic.
Capitol Gorge:At the southern end of the Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive, hike up the sandy wash into Capitol Gorge, where you’ll find petroglyphs and incised names of Mormon pioneers. Go up a side trail to explore waterpockets, natural water-collecting depressions in the rocks.
Goblin Valley State Park:Whether or not you find them spooky, the rock formations at this state park north of Hanksville are fun to explore. Take time to walk around the goblinlike spires and rocks along the trails.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition