From Beaver, Utah, to Escalante National Monument it was an easy drive 2-1/2 hour drive. Escalante was the furthest point east that we planned to travel. Because this was a rather last minute trip, it was very difficult to get reservations in or near the parks in Utah. We managed to get a room for two nights in Escalante.
Escalante has not yet achieved national park status so it is not yet overrun with visitors. That also means that most of the off-highway roads are dirt or gravel and some require a 4-wheel drive to get to trailheads. This first afternoon we drove east toward Boulder to an easy to get to slot canyon located a few steps from the dirt road.
The rock walls of Long Canyon Slot were are a reddish orange with undertones of a deep maroon. On the way back to Escalante, we stopped on a hill to watch the moonrise.
The next morning, Saturday, we drove to Lower Calf Creek Falls trailhead. The trailhead is in a campground of the same name. The 3-mile trail which follows Calf Creek has interpretive signs that point out some of the highlights such granaries and pictographs made by the Fremont Indians about 900 years ago.
The 130-foot waterfall is at the end of the 3-mile hike. While this is a hot, sunny trail, the area around the waterfall is cool and lush.
On the way back to Escalante we took a 45-mile detour onto Hell's Backbone. The ranger at the Visitor's Center said that was a beautiful drive. It was not. It was 45 miles of bad, gravel, washboard road with again no cell phone coverage. There was very little area to see the views except where a bridge crossed the canyon.
We were in Utah, and almost everything is closed on Sunday. The nearest car rental company was over 100 miles away and it was closed. There was no chance that we could get another night's room in Escalante. If we couldn't get transportation, we would be homeless. I had a sleepless, worried night mulling over all these dead ends. Dan slept well.
Sunday morning we called High Adventure Rentals in Escalante. Their website showed they rented ATVs and Jeeps for $250 for 4 hours. They also had a Lincoln Navigator SUV for rent, and they were open on Sunday. We walked to their shop and rented the huge Navigator for $89/day--a relief after seeing the prices for the off-road vehicles. So, with just a little hiccup in our vacation plans, we left our car and Escalante behind and drove to Bryce National Park a few miles west of Escalante.