Hiking | Lifestyle | Travel

5 Reasons to Visit Escalante and Grand Staircase National Monument

Escalante, Utah

Escalante and the epic Grand Staircase National Monument are yet another unique and breathtaking piece of the already stunning Southern Utah landscape.

Escalante features some of the most outstanding hiking opportunities on earth.

You’ll find layers of sandstone, towering slot canyons, some of the most unique rock formations cut out of the desert landscape, and wildlife running freely across open fields of grain and alfalfa.

It’s truly a magical place and you’re about to find out why!

Here are five reasons you should visit Escalante, Utah, and Grand Staircase National Monument:

#1. Unique lodging options

Escalante offers diverse lodging options. Whether you’re looking to stay at a luxury lodge, enjoy an adorable tiny house, ready to experience glamping for the first time, or simply need a place to park your trailer or pitch your tent, Escalante has it all.

By far my favorite place to stay in Escalante:

This adorable lodge features one of the best beds I’ve literally ever slept on while traveling! I don’t say this lightly, either. I can’t even tell you how many places I’ve stayed somewhere and woke up feeling like I had been hit by a semi.

At Entrada Escalante Lodge, each room features Beautyrest Marisol luxury mattresses, high-quality bedding, and amazing pillows that are like sleeping on a cloud.

And no, I’m not kidding.

Entrada Escalante
Entrada Escalante

Entrada Escalante also offers suites with full kitchens or kitchenettes and patio seating out back that faces the epic Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

I loved the thoughtful complimentary hiking snacks they provided and the delicious, organic, and locally sourced fresh ground coffee!

Super bonus points: this place is PET FRIENDLY!

Entrada Escalante
Entrada Escalante

Out of all the awesomeness at this place, my favorite part was the amazing rain-head shower! Nothing beats an awesome shower (in a bathroom that’s individually heated!) after a long day of hiking.

They offer Single King Rooms, Double Queen Rooms, and Deluxe King Suites!

The on-site managers are so sweet and love giving out information on local places to eat, things to see, and anything else you want to know to get the most out of your trip to Escalante.

To see availability and book a room, click here:

#2. Escalante is centrally located next to all the must-see National Parks

Staying in Escalante will give you a central location to hit up all the surrounding national parks! 

You’ll find Bryce Canyon National Park only 1 hour away, an easy 2 hours to Zion National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park just 1 hour and 40 minutes away.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Zion National Park
Zion National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

#3. Epic family-friendly hikes

Escalante offers fun outdoor adventures for the entire family! By far one of the greatest family-friendly outdoor experiences:

Devil's Garden

Devil’s Garden, located in the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument, is an extremely unique desert playground full of hoodoos and arches. These unique formations were carved by wind and water over the centuries and stand out as a stark contrast against the desert sand and skyline.

Devil's Garden Escalante
Devil's Garden Escalante

This is less of a “hike” and more of a “drive-up-and-explore-some-cool-stuff” kinda place, which makes it perfect for all ages.

The kids will love climbing the formations!

Bonus: amazing photo opportunities. 

Devil's Garden Escalante Utah
Devil's Garden Escalante Utah

It’s a stunning area and definitely a must-do in the Escalante area, whether you have kids with you or not!

I went alone, as per usual.

And I enjoyed it fully, as per usual.

Lone wolf life.

Getting to Devil's Garden

As with most of my hikes, I use AllTrails. It’s an easy way to get driving directions and heat maps for any upcoming hikes so you can plan before you go.

See the AllTrails App for Devil’s Garden here:

Important Hole-In-The-Rock Road Information

Although you do not need a 4WD vehicle to get to Devil’s Garden, keep in mind that it may be completely impassible during and after rain or snow.

This road is ROUGH. I don’t mean climbing rocks kind of rough. The road, when dry, is a complete washboard. 

To avoid completely jacking up my car’s alignment, (I have a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross) I went an average of 15 MPH. Even at that speed, it rattled my brain a bit.

If you have a higher clearance vehicle, you’ll be in great shape.

Additional warning if you like your car:

You’ll find yourself driving closer to the edge of the road to avoid the ruts. Be VERY careful doing this. I scratched the entire side of my car.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was pretty tragic.

See Exhibit A & B:

Escalante, Utah
Escalante, Utah

Most of the scratches were superficial and I was able to buff them out, but damn, Daniel.

Anyway, don’t let that deter you. It’s totally worth it.

4. Insta-famous hikes in Escalante

Chances are you’ve seen photos of Escalante floating around on Instagram and didn’t even know it. 

Here’s a list of note-worthy hikes in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument:

1. Lower Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls is located off of Scenic Byway 12. See the AllTrails directions and map by clicking here:

The final destination of this hike is the cascading 126-foot Lower Calf Creek Falls, perhaps the most beautiful waterfall of Escalante. Be sure to calculate in time for swimming and cooling down beneath the falls, especially in the hot summer months.

Lower Calf Creek Falls
2. Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons

You’ll find these epic slot canyons via the same Hole-in-the-rock Road mentioned previously.

peek-a-boo-slot canyons
spooky canyon

For the AllTrails directions and trail map, click here.

Note: If you struggle with claustrophobia, Peek-a-boo and Spooky slot canyons may not be the best hike for you. At some points, the canyon shrinks to only 18 inches wide and you often have to walk sideways. (But it’s fun!)

Warning: ALWAYS look for the possibility of a flash flood before entering any slot canyon. It doesn’t have to be rain coming from the exact location you’re going to. Water travels down from other areas and can turn a fun hike into a life-or-death situation in literally minutes. Know the weather there and in surrounding areas prior to going.

3. Coyote Gulch

The most popular aspect of Coyote Gulch, Jacob Hamblin Arch, is an impressive sight to behold. At only 150 feet wide and 100 feet tall, the arch is not the largest in Utah. However, it’s still an imposing presence in this narrow canyon a produces a feeling of being in a natural cathedral.

Coyote Gulch Escalante
Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash

It is not advised to do this hike in one day. For those that choose to do so, be prepared for a long day of scrambling, hiking in the sand, and going in and out of the Escalante River. This is not an easy day hike.

To see the access point to begin this hike, click here.

For all the info on the hike including directions, heat maps, and reviews from real hikers, click here.

Now that we have gone over some popular (for a reason!) hikes, let’s talk about places you may accidentally pass by that you shouldn’t:

# 5. Scenic lookouts are worth the stop

And last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about those signs on the highway you’ll see that state “scenic overlook”.

As you drive around the Escalante area, you’ll see signs for scenic overlooks. They are marked for a reason! Even if you just go for a few minutes to take in the views, every stop is more than worth it.

Escalante, Utah
Escalante, Utah

On this scenic overlook stop, I scrambled down past the fence to the very edge because I ain’t scurred.

Sorry, mom.

You, too, can be like Jessi.

I wouldn’t take the little ones that close to an edge or climb down if you’re afraid of heights, but views like this are hard to beat!

Making a road trip out of it and want to see more breathtaking scenery in Southern Utah?

Don’t miss out on all the epic hikes in Southern Utah OUTSIDE of Zion National Park!

For a full guide of spectacular hiking opportunities, click here:

Have you been to Escalante or Grand Staircase?
Tell me in the comments!

4 Responses

  1. I have never been to the Escalante area. But after reading this post, I’m going to make it a priority! Thank you for all the helpful tips, information, and amazing photos! Can’t wait to go there! Love all your posts!!

    1. You should definitely go! And thank you so much for the kind words, ghat means more than you know! ♥️