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Grand Staircase Escalante

This area gets a fraction of the number of visitors that the five national parks in Southern Utah get, but also holds many attractions. One of the most scenic roads in the entire United States, Highway 12, cuts through it from Bryce Canyon in the south to Capitol Reef in the north. 

The town of Escalante makes a good base. Stop by the Kiva Coffeehouse for great baked goods, sandwiches and of course coffee, with a great view to boot. There are also rooms for rent here.

the BLM office here has info on local attractions.

Further up the road is the town of Boulder. It's home to the best restaurant in Southern Utah, the Hell's Backbone Grill. Right next door is the Boulder Mountain Lodge, the best accommodation in the area.

Favorite Hikes and Drives:

Lower Calf Creek Falls  About a six mile round trip hike, this is probably the most popular day hike in the area.

Neon Canyon  Slightly longer at nine miles roundtrip, this hike leads to the Golden Cathedral, one of the most impressive rock formations in the Western United States.

The Burr Trail  Just outside Boulder is road that winds through Long Canyon. It starts out paved and eventually becomes a gravel road which leads to the scenic overlook of the Waterpocket Fold

Coyote Gulch  Although it can be hiked in a long day, most visitors make it a leisurely 3-4 day backpacking trip. It is one of the greatest desert hikes in the entire Southwest. Nearby is Dance Hall Rock, noted for the large potholes on the top with trees growing out of them. 

Reflection Canyon  Reached via a strenuous 20 mile roundtrip hike provides an overlook of one of the most scenic sections of Lake Powell. 

Cottonwood Canyon Road  Scenic gravel road that runs north/south through the heart of the National Monument. Yellow Rock is the most photographed place along the sixty mile road.

Wahweap Hoodoos  Unusual white rock formation that can be visited by completing an eight mile round trip hike.

Copyright 2015 Jim Babson