Best Escalante Hikes near Loa, Utah

Best Escalante Hikes near Loa, Utah

Grand Staircase--Escalante National Monument stretches over 1.8 million acres across southern Utah and contains an almost infinite number of excellent hiking trails. However, there are a number of great hikes relatively close to Loa as you head toward Boulder, Utah and Escalante, Utah. We've listed a few of our favorites, below. Most of these hikes are just minutes off Highway 12, and relatively easy to access. Basically, they allow you to enjoy Escalante without spending most of your time reaching your destination. For more information, feel free to give us a call.

Lower Calf Creek Falls

  • Length: 6.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 866 feet
  • Rating: Moderate

Lower Calf Creek Falls is a very popular out-and-back trail that can be accessed all year. If you've never hiked in Grand Staircase--Escalante National Monument, this is a great first hike. The trailhead is located just 15 miles east of Escalante. For the most part, the trail follows Calf Creek. Along the way, you'll pass rock art that was created around AD 1200, beaver ponds, and mineral-streaked Navajo sandstone cliffs. The trail ends at the spectacular Lower Calf Creek Falls. The falls are around 130-feet high and are surrounded by plenty of green vegetation. There's also a deep swimming hole at the base of the falls, where you can go swimming. A small day-use parking fee is required. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed.

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Upper Calf Creek Falls

  • Length: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 606 feet
  • Rating: Moderate

Upper Calf Creek Falls is a relatively short out-and-back trail that is much less crowded than Lower Calf Creek Falls. You access the trailhead from a side road just off Highway 12. The hike initially involves climbing over steep slickrock, but then it becomes easier to navigate. Along the way, you'll get great views of the Pink Cliffs of the Table Cliff Plateau and the Straight Cliff near the Kaiparowits Plateau. You'll also pass by a variety of interesting rock formations and possibly wildflowers in some areas. The trail ends at Upper Calf Creek Falls, an 88-foot waterfall that forms an inviting swimming hole at its base. No fee is required for parking. Dogs are welcome, but they might not enjoy the steep slickrock sections that make up the first part of the trail.

Escalante Natural Bridge

  • Length: 4.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 291 feet
  • Rating: Easy

The Escalante Natural Bridge trail is a moderately popular out-and-back trail that is great for all skill levels. The trailhead is about 14 miles east of Escalante, just off Highway 12. This trail follows the Escalante River for the entire hike. The main attraction is, of course, the spectacular 130-foot high Escalante Natural Bridge. However, you'll also pass by Navajo sandstone walls, junipers and sage, a number of petroglyphs, and a beautiful arch along the way. Note that you will have to cross the Escalante River a number of times, so make sure you wear appropriate shoes. In the spring, the river can be pretty high and somewhat difficult to cross. Also, in warmer months, the deer flies will eat you alive, so bring plenty of bug repellent. Dogs are welcome on this trail, but must be leashed.

Phipps Wash

  • Length: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: approx. 600 feet
  • Rating: Moderate to difficult

Phipps Wash is a secluded trail that features an arch and a natural bridge. It's not too far from Escalante, Utah. To get to the trailhead, travel about ten miles east on Highway 12; then, about two miles down Spencer Flat Road. The trailhead is at a pullout on the right side of the road. The trail is never more than a couple of miles from Highway 12, but it's far enough away to avoid noise from passing traffic. Most of the trail is actually easy to hike, but some sections get more difficult. Along the trail, you'll pass by a variety of vegetation, including willows and cottonwoods, as well as red and orange sandstone rock formations. You'll also cross the Escalante River a few times. After about four miles, there's a side canyon that leads to Phipps Arch. The trail to the arch is steep and requires some scrambling, but the trip is definitely worth the effort to get a look at Phillips Arch. Another hidden feature along the trail is the Maverick Natural Bridge, which spans about twenty feet and features a small pool and shade trees.

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