April 23, To Escalante, Utah
Escalante is about 5 hours drive east of Las Vegas, so we spent most of a day driving there, but it is a beautiful drive!
We stopped for a lunch break with a family member who lives near St George, Utah.
After lunch, we continued on to Cedar City to buy groceries for the next few days. Then we took the scenic route, Hwys 14 to 89 to 12, over mountains, and onto the Colorado Plateau, where the ‘lower’ elevations are above 5000 feet.
Beyond Bryce, Powell Point of the famous Grand Staircase Pink Cliffs began to dominate our view.
We stopped at the overlook on Highway 12 to admire Powell Point from another angle.
We arrived in Escalante around dinner time.
April 24 – Toward Boulder and the Burr Trail
We began the day by driving east on Hwy 12 into this remarkable landscape:
Lower Calf Creek Falls – We hiked six miles round trip along Calf Creek, mostly between steep red sandstone walls of Navajo Sandstone.
This was a great lunch stop! We admired the falls for a while.
We continued driving east on Hwy 12, toward Boulder. We stopped at the pullout that is just above Calf Creek Falls, to see the view across the canyon.
Long Canyon Slot – We continued east on Hwy 12, to the small town of Boulder, then turned onto Burr Trail Road for eleven miles, to the Long Canyon slot canyon. Once again, the road cut through amazing scenery. These white sandstone hills just outside Boulder remind me of Checkerboard Mesa, near Zion Canyon.
By the time we reached Long Canyon, we had driven lower into the stratigraphy to the older Wingate Formation, also a massive red sandstone layer. The slot canyon here is less than a quarter mile long and easily accessible.
Head of the Rocks Viewpoint
On our drive back to Escalante, we stopped at the Head of the Rocks Viewpoint, with all the world displayed around us.
April 25 – Hole in the Rock Road
Zebra Slot Canyon – We drove down Hole in the Rock Road, south of Escalante, to the trailhead to Zebra Slot. This was another six mile round trip hike, first across open desert, then into canyons cut into Navajo Sandstone. For most of the hike we were admiring wall after wall of cross bedded sandstone.
On the hike out, we wandered across the beautiful slick rock surfaces.
Devil’s Garden – We continued down Hole in the Rock Road for a few more miles, to the Devil’s Garden – an area of hoodoos eroded from the Entrada Sandstone. We wandered around this area for about an hour enjoying the photo opportunities.
To Tropic – At the end of the day, we drove back west for about an hour, relocating to the town of Tropic, just east of Bryce Canyon, where my husband would be based for his photo class. And we still had a whole day to explore in this area.
Coda: When I was at Joshua tree in February, I was wondering if I still liked the desert, and this trip to the redrock country has answered that question. This is the desert I like…sandstone slickrock, slot canyons, and cliffs – I realized it was the Colorado Plateau I was seeking. Each day, we noted trails and views we didn’t have time to explore, and made a list for next time…