Looking for adventure? Garfield County has you covered. With red rocks, countless trails, slot canyons, and primer OHV access, this is the place to be.
Welcome to Bryce Canyon Country, Utah’s gateway to adventure and home to some of the most beautiful terrain on the planet.
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Picture your camping spot nestled in red and green hills set against a blue sky. Waking up early to go canoeing on clear cool waters. Later on, you take your pack and head out along nature trails through a petrified forest. Sounds great right? Well, you can expect this, and more, when visiting Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.
The park gets it’s name from the thousands of pieces of petrified wood found in the area. Petrified wood is the name given to the remains of trees or other vegetation that have gone through the permineralization process. This happens when the wood becomes buried underground and preserved due to the lack of oxygen. What is so cool about petrified wood is that – unlike a traditional fossil – this is a three-dimensional representation of the original organism.
The nature trails at Escalante Petrified Forest are a main draw to many who visit, and visitors can be seen wandering though them for hours. The most popular route is the Petrified Forest Trail – a one-mile loop winding through lava flows, as well as thousands of pieces of petrified wood. There is currently an in the works, slated to be finished this summer, where the trail will be expended to allow mountain biking. Keep your eyes open and don’t forget your bike.
The Sleeping Rainbow Trail is an additional three-quarter-mile loop just off of this popular path, but is much steeper and does require hikers to climb over large rocks.
Remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints. This petrified wood needs to stay where it lays. Not only is it a crime to remove things like petrified wood from the park, many people believe that removing petrified wood from its home could end with the thief being cursed. Don’t believe us? Each year people return pieces of wood to the park that they say have brought them bad luck and misfortune.
A must-see for visitors to Escalante Petrified Forest is the 50-foot petrified tree. Transported here in 2014, this is the only full-tree specimen you’re going to find this easily. At 150-million years old, this tree is a true site to behold. Recently, new interpretive panels have been added to the display. While the display is open now, join us on July 1, 2017 for the grand opening ceremony.
Looking to cool off after a day exploring the petrified forest? Take a dip in Wide Hollow Reservoir for the complete park experience. The park has paddle boards, kayaks, and more available for rent. Don’t forget your tent or RV if you planning to stay awhile. The park have both primitive and full-hookup sites available; as well as on-site showers.
Experience the Grand Staircase Like Never Before
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a vast tract of land connecting Glen Canyon National Recreation Area with Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks. This monument is largely desert wilderness. Perfect for those wanting to hike the canyons, view wildlife, explore, and photograph the remote areas.
Popular destinations and hikes include the Grosvenor Arch and the Calf Creek Recreation Area.
The area is also rich in history, and fossils of both plants and dinosaurs have been found within it’s boundaries. Many of the dinosaurs were first discovered at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
In fact, some paleontologists say the monument has the highest concentrations of dinosaur fossils found anywhere in the world. You can go fossil hunting and explore the history of the earth, but remember to leave what you find so that others may have the same exciting experience.
Want to experience the Grand Staircase in a truly unique way? Escalante Horse Tours are a surefire way to ensure your trip is one you’ll remember forever. These tours take you through historic wagon routes, and even Butch Cassidy’s escape trails. Who wouldn’t want to view native ruins and petroglyphs the way our ancestors did?
These tours prefer smaller and more intimate groups than some of the larger groups. Bring your own horse or rent one from the business. Either way, you’re bound to have a blast.
Looking to stay the night? We have you covered. For another truly unique experience in Bryce Canyon Country, stay the night in one of the Escalante Yurts. These dwellings were once used in Central Asia by nomads. Now, you can experience them as well. Don’t worry though, the walls of these structures are 100% animal skin free. They are also within distance of the world-renowned Calf Creek Falls.
For those wanting a more modern flair to their trip, the Grand Staircase Resort is for you. Located in the central Grand Staircase area, and within walking distance of shopping centers, restaurants, and the main Grand Staircase Visitor’s Center, you won’t regret making basecamp here. The resort has campsites, cabins, RV sites, and even vacation homes available. Reserve yours today!
OHV Riding - The Modern Adventurer’s Horse
Don’t forget your toys when you journey into Bryce Canyon Country. There are many miles of trails through the area. Spanning through the Dixie National Forest and the Grand Staircase, these high country trails offer incredible views. Be sure to carry your camera, especially in autumn; the leaves changing is a sight you won’t want to forget.
These rides include trails such as the Bull Rush Loop, Yankee Meadows Ride, and the Castco Canyon and Limekiln Loop. Ranging from full-day excursions to 5 hour rides, you’re options are sure to please anyone from the novice to experienced riders.
Visit the Garfield County website for a list of some PDF maps to help you plan your adventure today!
Looking For More Adventure?
Is your thirst for adventure still not satisfied? Truly, no trip to Bryce Canyon Country would be complete without a visa to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Here, you’ll see a series of large amphitheaters made up of thousands of multi-colored rock formations we call “hoodoos.” These hoodoos shine brightly under the sun, and even glow during sunrise and sunset hours. You’ll find the glow of this area stays with you for long after you leave.
Whether it’s hiking through the park amphitheater surrounded by hoodoos or traveling on horseback through trails of the Old West, these scenic adventures provide some of the best experiences in Bryce Canyon Country. Be sure to stop at the visitor center and museum at the entrance of the park to gather information about hiking tours and upcoming events.
Still wanting more? Be sure to check out Kodachrome Basin State Park. As it’s name suggests, Kodachrome Basin is a photographers dream. With its red rock formations, incredible rock formations, and monolithic chimneys, Kodachrome Basin is a favorite for adventure seekers and photographers.
Hikes by themselves are an amazing activity, but the phenomenal views found on Kodachrome Basin’s trails add a reward sure to put an extra spring in your step.
Looking to stay a while? No problem! Kodachrome Basin sports 31 campsites. Some sites close during winter months, while other full-hook up sites are open all year-round.