Exploring Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante

Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah

Grand Staircase-Escalante is a beautiful, rugged area in Southern Utah full of hidden hikes, canyons, and adventure. Most travelers will stick to the more famous national parks such as Arches or Zion, but Escalante should not be missed!

The town of Escalante is much smaller than for example Moab but it feels very relaxed and easy going. The locals are very willing to give you suggestions on hikes to do and areas to explore. Here is a short summary of activities to do while there!

Shooting Stars Resort

Go hiking

Zebra Slot Canyon and Peek-a-Boo Gulch are the most famous slot canyons in Escalante. The hikes to the canyons can be very exposed, so check out the temperatures before you leave. For a hot day, head on over to Escalante River to cool off. We spent most of our afternoons by the river, swimming and wading under the shade. 100 degree heat is no joke!

Another cool hike we did was called the Cosmic Ashtray. A lot of guides online will loop it with Red Breaks, but we took another direct route to the ashtray. Check out my guide for the Cosmic Ashtray here!

Go canyoneering

The main goal of our trip was to learn some canyoneering techniques. We had a great time learning with Excursions of Escalante and would recommend it to anyone in the area!

Canyoneering in Escalante


  • Most of the roads are accessible with a 2WD but flash floods and sand could make it difficult! Check road conditions before you leave and a 4WD is always safer
  • In the summer go early! We were up before sunrise most days
  • Drink lots of water. Heat exposure is no joke. We heard there are rescues every week in Escalante because people get lost and don't bring enough water. We would allocate 1L/hour of hiking.