Driving out the Hole-In-The-Rock road, only pinon-juniper forest, sagebrush, sand and the bulk of Fifty Mile Mountain greet the eye. No clue is given to the marvels carved into the stone but a scant mile away. And marvelous they are - the Canyons of the Escalante provide oases of lush greenery between soaring sandstone walls. Endowed with beauty rather than grandeur, the Escalante is an area of long and marvelous canyons that make perfect multi-day wilderness journeys. Carved into thick, white Navajo sandstone, every turn of the canyon offers a new and interesting view.
The Escalante is dominated by fairly tame but long and marvelous canyons that beg for multi-day explorations. Many daytrips are available - both easy strolls and strenuous thrashes. In either case, once you are there, you are probably in for a fair amount of driving and plenty of hiking. Keep a good supply of water in the car. Careful planning pays off in the Escalante; the area is too expansive to just show up and do stuff.
The few hikes listed here only scratch the surface. Personally, I head to the Escalante whenever I have more than a weekend to put together. Summers are very hot, but hikes can be found by carefully selecting canyons with lots of water to keep cool in. The usual seasons are Spring and Fall, though many great hikes can be done in winter also.
Steve Allen's rather stupendous guidebook Canyoneering 3 does a very good job of covering most of the Escalante area. Doesn't leave me much of a soapbox, but I'll post a few of my favorites, and toss in a few variations to Steve's wonderful work.
Many of my descriptions in this area are in Archive form. These archives represent many of the first canyons I attempted to elucidate for the benefit of fellow desert lovers, and the descriptions are... what they are. Juvenalia. A bit rough, compared to the current level of polish. Many people still find them useful, however, so let's keep them available, with the understanding they have not been maintained and thus should be read with a grain of salt.
Visitor Info, Guides and Services
Escalante Archive Descriptions