One of the hardly-heard national monuments of Utah, Grand Staircase-Escalante is one of the rugged beauties with hard to reach attractions. I had wonderful experience here after driving in the snow on the winding roads and also driving on miles and miles of gravel roads which I try to avoid when I am in a rented economy car. But, the fascinating nature keeps calling me! An unbelievable remote wilderness!
I drove from Kanab to Escalante, all along the drive I saw high standing cliffs. Once I entered this national monument spread across millions of acres of land it was truly an amazing experience to drive through the variety of multicolored rock formations. The rocks and the cliffs in every interesting and empowering shapes transport the visitor to some other world, sad we cannot stop on the road for a picture. The Scenic-Byway-12 meanders through the monument and also Dixie National Forest few times, climbing up to much higher elevations. In mid October I found the sky and land meet while driving here. The snow flakes falling on the windshield seems magical but the poor visibility on the winding road was a bit of concern.
|The popular Arch|
The monument is a large area out of which I saw very little. A 4x4 vehicle is a must to enjoy it without any fear of getting stuck in the rugged remote wilderness. I drove 13.5 miles one way on Hole-in-the-rock gravel road, okay for passenger cars with 'new' tires, up to Devil's Garden. Initially I was skeptical on taking the Toyota Yaris, then curiosity won. I drove slowly while all other bigger vehicles zoomed past me raising a big cloud of dust every time. Most of them were heading to the slot canyons at the end of the road. The Devil's Garden was worth all the effort and risk.
Don't you see those three cute Devils waiting for visitors? A walk through the rock formations and the wash was really cool. I was the only one there in the 'garden'. There are two arches and one of them is very popular, it is in all postcards.
When I was leaving I saw one couple driving in. It was a long 13.5 miles drive back to the Scenic-Byway-12. Grand Staircase Escalante area has many other attractions, most of them need a 4x4 vehicle to reach. Calf Creek Falls Recreation Area and also nearby is Escalante-Petrified Trees state park which has a collection of petrified trees, are easy to reach. Some consider this vast national monument as a 'rough gem' and some might say 'not to bother'. I have seen very little to say anything. Whatever little I saw in this land-of-silence-and-space was worth all the pain :)
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Great Hikes- Angels Landing, Zion NP
Sunrise at Thor's Hammer, Bryce Canyon NP
Clouds over Zion Cliffs
Sunrise seen from Mather Point, Grand Canyon
Three Patriarchs from Zion
This post is linked to Our World Tuesday.
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.