Here are a few sample getaway ideas while visiting Escalante and Boulder.
Remember to have extra food and water, get a permit and check the current weather and road conditions before beginning your adventure.
Arrive in the early afternoon and secure accommodation arrangements. After this, drive on Hwy 12 to the Escalante River bridge, where there are some gentle hiking trails to check out. Just stretch your legs out a bit by walking up or down the river and returning without too much effort. Your feet will get wet and a little sandy, but it’s worth it. Stop at the “Head of the Rocks” or on the “Hog’s Back” scenic overlooks for incredible vistas that will leave you nearly breathless.
Pack a lunch and hike up to Lower Calf Creek Falls. Everyone will enjoy the cool air surrounding this 200 foot tall spring fed masterpiece. Summertime can be warm in this canyon, so hike in the AM or PM and avoid the mid-day sun. It is 5.5miles hiking, round trip.
Drive down Hole in the Rock road approximately 15 miles to the “Devil’s Garden”. Here you will find interesting sandstone features including several arches and hoodoos to explore. There is a bathroom on site and easy trails to follow. One to four hours is a typical time for this area.
Drive 27 miles down Hole in the Rock road to the locally famous slot canyons of “Spooky and Peekaboo”. Here you can explore a few of the hundreds of narrow twisting canyons that slice into the Escalante basin. Permits and maps are required and available at the BLM Visitor’s Center. Flash Flood danger is extremely high in slot canyons. If clouds are building or rain is in the forecast, DO NOT ENTER. Only a few minutes of rain can cause disaster. Plan a full day.
Take the guesswork out of finding roads, routes and canyons by hiring a local hiking guide. They will be able to show you the hidden treasures that are surrounding the communities, while sharing local knowledge and safety tips along the way. Dinosaur tracks, Indian ruins, and slot canyons for hiking or canyoneering await your visit, simply look at the “guides” link to find the experience best suited to your needs.
Visit the Anasazi State Park in Boulder to see and experience the largest known prehistoric Puebloan settlement on the west side of the Colorado River. Archaeologist have been studying and collecting evidence here describing the lives of several hundred people who farmed and hunt in this area over 750 years ago. Beautifully decorated ceramic bowls and mugs are on display as well as the multitude of artifacts that made life in this remote area possible, many years ago.
Leave the fishing poles at home and hire one of our excellent local fishing guides. These professionals can lead you to the pristine streams and ponds hidden on the beautiful Boulder Mountain. And more times than not, with the perfect bait and presentation, they will help you land the trout of a lifetime, in an unbelievable setting. Trips range from half to full day, check out the “fishing” link on the “guides” page for more information.
Spend some time visiting the many galleries of the valley. There are opportunities to see the works and creations of many artists who have chosen to call the area home. Workshops and other educational programs offered allow you to expand your own skills while experiencing the inspirations of the artist. Check out the “artisans” page for more details.
Enjoy some of the most scenic driving in the west. Drive down Burr Trail to the Muley Twist, just inside Capitol Reef National Park for scenery and excitement. The last few miles are graded gravel. Or follow the Hell’s Backbone road between Escalante and Boulder (graded gravel) for superlative vistas and colorful forests of Aspen and Ponderosa. The more rugged road enthusiasts will enjoy the Hole in the Rock road, which is nearly 120 miles (round trip) of graded gravel, rock and sand. High clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended/required and jeep rentals are available in Escalante (check link).
Leave your horse and worries at home and enjoy a half or full day of horseback riding with one of the local guides. These folks are experienced with the animals, terrain and local history and can show you the scenic and lonely trails of the area while giving insight to the geologic and other Earth sciences of the region. Check out the “Horseback” link on the Guides page.
Spend a morning or afternoon going back thru time at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. Here you can take short hiking trails to see exposed sedimentary layers of rock that contain magnificent examples of 65 million year old petrified wood. The logs are quite colorful and abundant, however be sure to leave what you find…they are not that abundant! This hike ends and begins at the well shaded Wide Hollow campground and reservoir, total hike time is usually between 2 and 4 hours. This hike can be hot on sunny afternoons.
Explore hidden roads in a rented jeep or on an ATV. There are countless dirt roads to explore in the area, renting an Off Road Vehicle could be helpful in providing access hard to reach areas as well as provide a whole lot of excitement and fun. Check with the BLM Interagency Office to get current permit and road closure information.
We hope you are having so much fun that you don’t want to leave, so stay another day!
Or, if you must go, take your time working back to civilization by stopping in Bryce, Zion or Capitol Reef National Parks along the way. They are all scenic and wonderful, plus a nice buffer between Boulder, Escalante and the “big city." Watch for deer on the road and have a safe trip home.