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Things to do in Escalante, UTah

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ABOUT ESCALANTE, UT

The serene town of Escalante, Utah, and its backyard, the Grand Staircase National Monument,  are a natural paradise nestled deep in Southern Utah near Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park. 

 

This ideal and distinctive location makes the quiet city of Escalante a must-see stop on your vacation exploring Utah’s most unique natural wonders.

 

Trying to find the best things to do in Escalante? A guided tour through the canyons of the Grand Staircase is the ultimate experience. ROAM Outdoor Adventures offers four guided adventures through these breathtaking bucket list locations.

"The Trio of the canyons"
Peekaboo, Spooky & Dry Fork Slot Canyon ADVENTURE

This trio of canyons is a must for your Southern Utah bucket list. This incredible hike through the Dry Fork area of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is a breathtaking loop we’ll tackle in one afternoon. 

Here’s the plan. We’ll hike through Dry Fork Wash from the trailhead and shuffle down a few short cliffs to the sand dunes. From there, we’ll hike along the creek wash until we spot the mouth of Peek-a-Boo. Then we’ll take a quick turn over to Spooky, where we’ll scramble down a mellow rock face into the canyon.

Once we’re in, we’ll travel through the scenic paradise of red and purple rocks and arches and navigate the narrow confines of the slot canyons.
 

Duration:  4.5 hours

Tour type: Guided

Group Sizes: 12

What to bring: Hiking shoes, hydration pack, and snacks

DifficultyModerate

Ages: 4 and up

See pricing details and availability by clicking above

Egypt Slot canyon
half-day adventure

Egypt Slot Canyon packs in TONS of adventure with a short approach and exit. If you’re skilled at rappelling, you can downclimb the entire canyon, while beginners will tackle the descent in three short rappels. 

 

The narrows of Egypt present some unique challenges, but our adventure leaders are there to assist and ensure success for the whole group. The downclimbs yield fairly easily with teamwork and partner catches and assists. After heavy rains, the canyon may hold some water, adding to the fun and adventure of Egypt.

Duration: 4-5 hours

Tour type: Guided

Group sizes: 12

Ages: 8 and up

What to bring: Hiking shoes, pants, hydration pack, and snacks

DifficultyModerate

See pricing details and availability by clicking above

The Eye of the COSMOS

In the great expanses of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, the  "Eye of the Cosmos" aka Cosmic Ashtray, stands above all else.  In an area filled with alien rock formations, narrow slot canyons, and limitless adventure, the guided experience to the Eye of The Cosmos is an out-of-this-world adventure of a lifetime.

 

This journey is perfect for those looking to get off the beaten path and away from others. We regularly find ourselves alone without another soul in site on this journey. Venture with us to this strange and unique rock formation few have laid eyes on to be rewarded with one of the most unforgettable sights!

Duration: 6-8 hours

Tour type: Guided

Group Sizes: 10

Ages: 8 and up

What to bring: Hiking shoes, pants, hydration pack, and snacks

DifficultyModerately Challenging

See pricing details and availability by clicking above

zebra slot canyon hike
 

The sandstone striations on the walls of Zebra Slot Canyon make it one of the most unique sites in Southern Utah. The colorful stripes from millennia of sand and water erosion make for some unforgettable views–this hike is perfect for photographers!

 

The slot canyon is short and easy to navigate, and this 5-mile round-trip hike is great for the family.

Duration:  4 Hrs

Group Sizes: 12

Ages: 6 and up

Difficulty: Moderate

What to bring:  Good shoes; Pants are preferable; 2+ liters of water.

See pricing details and availability by clicking above

Self Guided Jeep rental
 

Escalante is the launch point for many of the world's most iconic slot canyons, hikes, and natural wonders in the vast Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  Destinations such as the Burr Trail, Hell's Backbone, and all the hidden treasures along Hole In The Rock Road.  Venture to Spooky/Peekaboo Slot Canyon, Egypt, Zebra Slot Canyons, Cosmic Ashtray, and so many more await! 

Duration:  10 Hr Rental

Ages: 21 and up

What is provided: You'll be provided the keys to a high clearance 4x4 vehicle ready to take on even the toughest country. Insurance is not provided. 

See pricing details and availability by clicking above

Visiting Escalante, Utah, and The Grand Staircase Zion National Park

Escalante is a small ranching town located along Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 and is home to just 850 residents. The town’s unique charm, vast landscapes, and proximity to canyons, rock formations, and other natural wonders make it ideal for travelers visiting Southern Utah.

 

Escalante boasts a few local diners and cafes ready to fuel you up for your adventures. 

 

Many travelers choose to stay in nearby towns like Kanab and Orderville and make the drive into Escalante to explore The Grand Staircase Zion National Park due to the town’s small hotel and rental market.

 

This remote part of Utah is one of the most beautiful places in the state.

What Makes The Grand Staircase Escalante Unique?

The Grand Staircase Escalante is remote and less explored than all other national parks and monuments in Southern Utah. It offers some of the most breathtaking views of the state's colorful sandstone cliffs and narrow slot canyons. Escalante is also well known for its prehistoric rock formations and decades-old abandoned movie sets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The remote nature of The Grand Staircase and the sun-drenched Utahn backcountry means you will be off-grid when exploring these wonders.

 

Pro Tip: Looking for the best way to explore Escalante and the Grand Staircase? Our favorite spots are the slot canyons. You can explore them on your own or book one of our canyoneering and rappelling tours.

 

 

Things to see at the Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah offers a wide range of activities and sights to explore. Here are some of the top things to do and see in the area:

 

The Cosmic Ashtray or "Eye of the Cosmos”

Ready to feel like you’re on a different planet? The Cosmic Ashtray will transport you directly to Mars. This otherworldly formation features one of the most unique geological structures, red rocks, and a sense of desolation that is hard to find elsewhere. 

Egypt Slot Canyon

Visiting Egypt Slot Canyon promises a breathtaking adventure through narrow sandstone passages. This remote and stunning landscape will bring an extra element of excitement as you occasionally find yourself scrambling over boulders and through tight squeezes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zebra Slot Canyon

These narrow, winding canyons are famous for their vibrant pink and white striped walls, sculpted by eons of water and wind erosion. If you are a photographer who enjoys hiking, Zebra Slot Canyon should be the first item on your Utah bucket list.

Spooky Slot Canyon

Spooky Slot Canyon in Escalante offers an eerie and enchanting journey through narrow, twisting sandstone passages that will leave you in awe of nature's artistry.

 

Hiking Trails Abound

Escalante and all of Southern Utah is a hiker’s paradise with a diverse range of trails for hikers of every skill level. From the serene trails of Bryce Canyon to the challenging Angels Landing in Zion National Park, there’s something for every member of your travel group.

 

Go Chasing Waterfalls

The desert landscapes of Southern Utah might not immediately bring to mind waterfalls, but Escalante and nearby areas boast some hidden gems. Lower Calf Creek Falls, a stunning 130-foot waterfall tucked away inside Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a refreshing contrast to its neighboring views.

 

Petrified Forest: Frozen in Time

The Petrified Forest existed over 150 million years ago and is preserved in all its glory right in the heart of Escalante, Utah. The petrified wood creates a surreal landscape of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. Travel back in time when you explore Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

 

Scenic Drives: Journey or Destination?

Sometimes, the most memorable experiences occur along the journey. Southern Utah offers some of the most breathtaking vistas along the All-American Road, winding through the canyons, red rock country, and the national parks. 

 

How to Get to Escalante, Utah

Escalante, Utah, is off the beaten path, so you must plan a road trip or a combination of flights and driving to reach your destination. If you are visiting from out of state or another country, you have several airport options nearby.

 

Distance from Major Commercial Airports

The closest cities with international airports are Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

 

  • 311 miles: Las Vegas, NV (LAS / KLAS) Harry Reid International Airport

  • 316 miles: Salt Lake City, UT (SLC / KSLC) Salt Lake City International Airport

 

Distance from Regional Airports

There are some great, smaller airports to fly to when visiting Escalante, Utah. 

 

  • 135 miles: Cedar City, UT (CDC / KCDC) Cedar City Regional Airport

  • 194 miles: Page, AZ (PGA / KPGA) Page Municipal Airport

  • 199 miles: Saint George, UT (SGU / KSGU) St. George Municipal Airport

  • 203 miles: Moab, UT (CNY / KCNY) Canyonlands Field

  • 235 miles: Provo, UT (PVU / KPVU) Provo Municipal Airport

 

Upon arrival at your airport, you must rent a car, camper, travel trailer, or RV to drive the remainder of the route to Escalante. 

 

How Many Days Should I Spend at The Grand Staircase?

You should stay at least two days to grasp the full wonder of Escalante and The Grand Staircase: one day to enjoy guided tours of the famous slot canyons and another day to experience a few local hikes. 

 

If possible, we recommend staying a third day to set off on a scenic drive to the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park or to visit some of the area’s waterfalls.

 

Best Time of Year to Visit

The best time of year to visit the City of Escalante, Utah, and The Grand Staircase Zion National Park is from mid-April through September. During this period, the temperatures range from 65 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, providing optimal conditions for outdoor exploration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting during Winter usually means colder temperatures, snow, and dangerous roads with temporary closures.

 

Notably, the chance for precipitation is low but not zero during spring and summer. Thunderstorms and possible flash flooding could affect your visit to the slot canyons, so please stay weather-aware during your visit to The Grand Staircase.

 

Where to Stay

Here are your best bets for accommodations during your trip to The Grand Staircase Zion National Park.

 

Escalante, UT: Travelers can stay in the city and rent an Airbnb-type property like Yonder Escalante or spend a night at the Canyon Country Lodge; however, the town is small, with limited rental options during peak seasons, so booking in advance is vital.

Kanab, UT: This centrally-located town is the perfect middle ground for visiting Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Escalante. Kanab, located about 100 miles southwest of Escalante, is bursting with cabins, townhomes, and historic houses for rent. You can even consider glamping outside the city at Cave Lakes Canyon Ranch.

 

 

Mt. Carmel Junction: This stop just off Route 89 and State Route 9 is the gateway to Zion National Park and is only 40 minutes from Escalante. It is home to many great RV Parks and motel stays for those wanting to experience more of Southern Utah’s wonders.

Orderville: Orderville is a picturesque town surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Zion National Park area. Located approximately 20 miles southeast of Escalante, Orderville offers visitors a convenient gateway to explore the breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and unique rock formations of both Zion and Escalante. It is home to the luxurious East Zion Resort.

Is a trip to Escalante, Utah, Right for You?

Definitely! 

 

Escalante is perfect for all vacationers, from solo hiking adventures to adult-only trips, Escalante offers fun for the whole family. Most of the activities around the national parks and monuments are kid-friendly, and all ROAM Outdoor Adventure Tours were created with people of all ages and skill levels in mind.

 

If you’re ready to learn more or book your Grand Staircase excursion, reach out today and ROAM The Grand Staircase like never before.

Jeep Gladiator driving through water
Zebra slot canyon walls
Woman rapelling down slot canyon wall
Red rock arch with sun beam behind it
Luxury canvas cabin with chandelier

Canvas luxury cabin at Cave Lakes Canyon Ranch.

"The Eye of the Cosmos" a red rock crater filled with orange sand
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
  • What is your refund policy?
    Full refund with within 48 hours of activity. 50% is refundable after that until the activity day. No refund given for a no-show or past 30 minutes late. $100 rescheduling fee within 24 hours.
  • Do you need canyoneering or rappelling experience to do the Via Ferrata or Canyoneering trip?
    NOPE! You don't need any canyoneering experience to do either of those adventures! The only thing you need is some grit and love for adventure!
  • The UTV's are guided, but can I still drive?"
    Yes! You just have to be over the age of 21 with a current drivers license. Just let your guide know you would like to drive and they will gladly accommodate!
  • What do you provide on an UTV tour?
    Water and coolers to keep your snacks / drinks cold! We also provide helmets and googles.
  • Do you do UTV rentals or just Guided UTV tours?
    We do not rent our UTVs. Our UTV experiences are guided which means a guide does come with you. Don't worry, they are excellent and knowledgeable about the area and also dub as your own personal photographers for the day! If you need a rental for the day checkout our Jeep Gladiators!
  • What do you provide on Hiking and Canyoneering tours?
    Transportation to the trail entrance and a yummy lunch will be provided. Water and coolers to keep your snacks / drinks cold!
  • What should we bring?
    ATV tours: Bring water, sunscreen, face gaitor / bandana for dust, and good hiking shoes. Each of our destinations requires a bit of hiking! Via Ferrata: Bring bug repellent for possible mosquitos in the canyon and if you'd like to climb with your phone to take photos, wear something with secure pockets or bring a carrying case that can stay close to your body. Horseback Rides: Bring bug repellent, sunscreen, long pants, and closed toed shoes. Hiking and Half day canyoneering: Bring good hiking shoes, a Hydration backpack for water or no less than 2 liters of water, and snacks. You do not want to bring a loose backpack that can potentially fall off your body while rappelling. And of course, remember to bring money to tip your guide if you love your experience!!
  • How do I obtain a permit for the wave hiking tour?
    A permit is required to hike the Wave. You must obtain a permit before contacting us. Click here to put in for a permit.
  • Are dogs allowed on your tours?
    Dogs are only allowed on the ATV tours
  • Is gratuity added or should I tip my guide?
    Yes please tip your guide! If you have a good time, please show them some love with a tip. They work hard and they work for tips! Most guides have venmo as well.
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COME ROAM WITH US

ROAM Outdoor Adventure Co. was founded by locals who know and love this area, who grew up exploring the red hills around Kanab, Orderville, Zion, Escalante and the greater Southern Utah area. We have a passion for sharing our home with others!

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