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Trip Report Escalante with Kids

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Our family and another family headed south for Memorial Day weekend. My kids and the other family had never been to Escalante and I really wanted the kids to hike Peekaboo Slot Canyon so off we went. We had 4 adults and 4 kids (ranging in age from 9-13).

Hotel: We stayed at the Prospector Inn. Rooms were decent size and we got a small fridge and microwave. Everyone was very friendly and we slept well. This hotel has a GREAT location--right next to Esclante Outfitters and across the street from the Circle D restaurant. There are no hotels with pools in Escalante. Pools are always key for kids but ours did fine watching the giant ant colony on one edge of the property, playing in a nearyby gravel lot, and watching cable TV.

Meals: We ate breakfast every morning at the Escalante Outfitters. Yummy baked goods and lattes. ahhhhhhh. I just love that place. We packed picnic lunches and snacks with us. One dinner we got take out from Esclante Outfitters. DH and I both had excellent salads--he had the trout and got the mozarella one. We got the garlic bread with great spicy marinara sauce. The kids complained that the cheese pizza was too spicy for them and they didn't eat much of it. My kids like their food bland. The next 2 meals we ate at Circle D. Great kids menu and great adults menu. The burgers are fantastic. Desserts were great. Their BBQ is also quite good. They are good about getting food out to you and coming back for dessert orders. Not so good about checking on your meal in between but it was Memorial Day weekend and they were busy. We brought wine with us and had happy hour outside the room each night--just bring some camp chairs. It was a little chilly surprisingly.

Day 1: The other family couldn't leave Salt Lake until late Friday so they didn't make it the whole way down. We killed time in town till about noon. We went to the interagency visitor's center. They had some great displays there. I have always been fascinated with cryptobiotic soil and they had some awesome displays about that. We knew where we were going so we didn't need maps etc but the staff were very friendly and informative as they interacted with other visitors. Then we went to the art/antique shop next to the Prospector Inn. One room was a rock shop. The kids loved it. We got some petrified wood.

The other family showed up and off we went to Petrified Wood State Park. This is an awesome hike. I had never done it before because it is so short (1 mile). The signed nature trail is well done and interesting. It is TOTALLY worth it to do the "extension" trail that is .75 miles. Yes, you go down quite a bit and then you have to come back up. But we moved at a snail's pace looking at the al the petrified wood. The extension trail is where the real action is--so.much.petrified.wood. Huge pieces of it, chunks of it, every where. You actually climb down it--it is part of the trail! I am not a rock person (plants and animals are more my thing) but this was amazing. This is a must do. Great views up there too.

Day 2: Off we went to hike to Peekaboo Slot Canyon. Yes, the Hole in the Rock Road is not fun. Too bumpy. Oh well. You have to go on it to get to the good stuff! The turn off for the Dry Fork Trail head is marked but I was glad that we knew that at xyz miles, we had to turn left. The sign says that the road is not good after the fork. We did it in 2 minivans and we were fine. Road was dry and not too sandy. Just rocky and uneven. The trail down has much improved since I did this 3 years ago. It's pretty clear that there is one way in and out. It takes no time to get down the hill and into the wash. We did Peekaboo first. If you go around to the left of the canyon, there is a worn, cairn marked trail that drops you in at the top of Peekaboo so you don't have to scramble up the wall at the entrance. Everybody had a blast going down to the start and back up again. We ate lunch on the slickrock top and then went to Dry Gulch canyon. (which is just to your left when you enter Dry Gulch from the trail head) Its a nice shady slot canyon that gets more interesting as you go up. And it is very easy walking. Took us 30 mins round trip. Then the slog up the hill. Going up the slickrock is steep but you can always stop to rest. A number of children in other parties were having meltdowns!! We all certainly felt like we had worked for our supper.

Day 3: We headed out via Boulder and Torrey. The interesting thing is that I have never been on HIghway 12 between Cannonville and Escalante. I have done either end of 12 but never all the way through. So that was very interesting for me to see that scenery on the side near Cannonville. The other family had never seen the stretch between Escalante and Boulder and my husband not been there in a looong time. They were all suitably impressed! We stopped at the Anasazi State Park to look around there. They have updated the museum part quite nicely. I really enjoyed it. Then we stopped in Torrey at Slackers for burgers. It was PACKED--again, Memorial Day. And then we trudged home.

All in all a great weekend--2 state parks and a national monument in one weekend. I will say I would not go down there on Memorial Day weekend again. Too many people. It's Escalante's big "homecoming" weekend so that adds to the crowds. But the weather was great and we had a wonderful time!! And the best part was that Saturday evening it was a huge cloudburst and we got to see a gigantic double rainbow. Really awesome!!

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