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Trip Report Trip Report - Southwestern Utah September 2010

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Last spring my daughter suggested we go on one of “my” trips. Her only requests were that we be away no more than five days including travel and that she see her husband and daughter in the morning before we leave and in the evening when we returning.

I planned a packed 3 day trip to Southwestern Utah flying into and out of Las Vegas.

Escalante. Prospector Inn was recommended on this forum. An excellent choice. The room had two queen-size beds, a TV, microwave and refrigerator. It also had a fresh, clean, modern feel to it. The restaurant in the back was very convenient.

Bryce Canyon & Zion. The standard in-park motel rooms. Very convenient, fresh, clean and over-priced. I highly recommend staying in the parks when possible.

On the way from LAS to Escalante we stopped at Valley of Fire State Park (a fun hour but it took over 2 hours to get there from the highway and back onto the highway. We also stopped to drive the Zion Kolob Canyon scenic road. Nice views but if you’re going to be in the main part of Zion I’d skip this. As a result of the stops we drove 2 ½ hours in the dark to Escalante.

Devil’s Garden Escalante – Located 10 miles down the bumpy, dirt Hole-in-the-Rock Road. This was an excellent early morning stop and we spent a couple of hours there. I consider it a grown up Goblin Valley as the rock structures a larger here.

Lower Calf Creek Falls – Located about 30 minutes east of Hole-in-the-Rock Road and you get to drive on the scenic (“Steep Grade and Sharp Curves”) part of Rt 12. For the middle of a hot day this hike is a little too long even though it’s easy with nothing steep. The spectacular 126 foot waterfalls at the end make it worth the effort.

Willis Creek – The hard part is getting there. Located south of Cannonville (about 20 minutes east of Bryce Canyon right on Rt 12). A couple of miles past the visitors center going south of the town the road forks with Cottonwood Rd to the left going to Kodachrome Park and Grosvenor Arch and Skutumpah Road to the right going past Willis Creek. There is now a trailhead sign at the parking lot so finding it is no problem. This road has a few hills and curves with loose sand and ruts. Parts at 5mph and others requiring speed to get up the hill are part of the adventure.

About 100 yards from the trailhead you find yourself walking on the streambed. It’s a very easy hike with nothing difficult and no elevation gain. There’s a small (about 8 feet) waterfall and you either climb/jump down (my daughter) or walk around it (me).

The first two or three slots are unimpressive but by the fourth the slots get narrower and much higher. This is a series of real slot canyons that are easily accessible and easy to walk. At any point you just turn around and walk back. A very good couple of hours.

Bryce Canyon
Sunrise – Sunrise is spectacular at Bryce Point. Don’t miss it.

Navajo Loop/Queen’s Garden – This is a classic hike down into the hoodoos. Unless you have physical issues you must hike down into the canyon. There are many beautiful places but Bryce Canyon is one of a kind. While the hike is not at all difficult you have to hike back up and you’re at 8,000 feet. Drink water periodically even if you don’t feel thirsty. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on.

Cascade Falls – on the way from Bryce to Zion we decided to make a stop to see something I hadn’t seen. Located west on Rt 14 just south of Cedar Breaks National Monument (which we didn’t have time to see) this is a fairly short, easy and scenic hike. However, in view of the length of time getting there and the very disappointing view of the waterfall (the hike ends at the top of the waterfall with no possibility of getting a good view) the time could have been better spent in Zion doing the Canyon Overlook hike on the way in the east entrance or some other short hike in the park.

Angels Landing to Scouts Lookout. On my previous trip to Zion I bypassed this hike. This time I decided to hike up to Scouts Lookout (I know my limitations). The hike is actually very easy as the trail is wide, smooth (mostly paved) and mostly gradual. Since we started at 8:30 it wasn’t too warm on the way up. You’re in elevation (though a lot lower than Bryce Canyon) so oxygen is an issue. Drink lots of water and have sunscreen on. The views from Scout’s Lookout were amazing although photographing it was very difficult due to the bright sun and dark shadows. The hardest part was stopping my daughter from attempting the hike to the very top. It still felt good to get this far.

Riverside Walk – This is a fun, easy walk to the start of the Narrows with the canyon walls providing some shade from the midday sun. The views are spectacular of the canyon walls and river rapids. Taking off the boots and walking in the water was fun though hard on the feet.

Three days is way too short but it’s much better than not going at all. We had a lot of fun.

Photos of the trip are at:


Select the 2010 trip to Southwest Utah.

There are way too many photos for a three-day trip. Also, since we both kept taking photos of each other, there are too many of us.

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