Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was created controversially, but has since grown into one of southern Utah’s most renowned outdoor playgrounds. With endless hiking and backpacking opportunities, the national monument itself could take decades to begin to explore thoroughly. It features popular and sometimes even crowded hikes, such as Lower Calf Creek Falls, as well as many trails and destinations that are completely off the radar, such as deep in the Escalante River and its tributaries. Put simply, the area has unprecedented desert hiking opportunities so matter the skill level.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Trails
Distance: 3 miles (one way) Difficulty: Easy Best time of year: Fall, Spring Last hiked: 2016 May The Upper Escalante River Alcove is a great alternative to the increasingly popular Hole-in-the-Rock Road. The out-of-the-way trail brings you into a landscape like something right out of Zion National Park. You follow a healthy desert river through an enormous sandstone canyon with massive golden cliffs. Though you could theoretically follow the Escalante River for dozens of miles […]
Distance: 1.2 miles (one way – to Spooky) Difficulty: Easy, but tight spaces and some scrambling Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring Last hiked: 2016 May There’s a great loop that connects Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon to Spooky Slot Canyon, which was my original plan for a hike. As it turns out, ascending into Peek-A-Boo Slot can be very tricky and downright dangerous. It was a little too much for me while solo, and even […]
Distance: 1.1 mile (one way) Difficulty: Moderate Best time of year: Year-round Last hiked: 2015 October This is the much less populated and much more wilderness feeling alternative to Lower Calf Creek Falls. Found just a few miles upstream from Lower, Upper Calf Creek Falls sees a fraction of the visitors and can easily give you a more remote desert canyon experience, despite the trail being just over one mile one way, as the crow […]