Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is huge, with varied terrain, lots of colors, and many many phenomenal hiking and biking opportunities. After initially finding its size intimidating (how do we possibly find the best hikes in this enormous place?) we loved it. We did three very different hikes in the Monument from our base in the town of Escalante.
A hike down Harris Wash can be as long as you want–up to 20 miles if you go all the way to the Escalante River and back. We had a deadline in the form of a reservation at local, sustainable Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, so we went in about 2.5 miles before heading back. Most of the hike was a fun tromp through the creek, which Bugsy absolutely loved.
Zebra and Tunnel Slot Canyons
Visit two awesome slot canyons on a 7ish-mile hike a short drive down Hole-in-the-Rock Road from Escalante. We were warned that this hike is very popular after being published in an outdoor magazine recently, but we saw only a couple other groups, and had both canyons totally to ourselves to play in. Bugsy wasn’t as impressed by the canyons as we were; due to her subpar climbing skills, we had to take turns exploring so one of us could keep her company outside.
Lower Calf Creek Falls
Lower Calf Creek Falls is a six-mile hike to a stunning waterfall splashing down a cliff face. It’s very popular so go early to avoid crowds! We were lucky to be there early enough in the Spring that nobody was swimming in the pool under the falls and crashing our photos. Well, nobody except for Bugsy was swimming.