Utah is one of my favorite places on the planet. I love the desert, the wide-open vistas with no signs of development, the dark night skies, and the sound of silence so loud that you can hear your ears ring. I love driving on deserted highways. I love sleeping in a tent and waking up to coyotes howling in the distance. (However, our dogs never enjoyed that. They trembled under their sleeping bags.)
Fortunately Terry loves desert vacations as much as I do, and we have embarked on more Utah road trips than I can count. After the U.S. government set aside 1.7 million acres in 1996 and declared it Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, we planned another road trip, including a hike to Calf Creek Falls. The following images are from our 1998 trip.
Much of the Escalante area looks like this, with fabulous panoramic vistas.
It’s hard to imagine a waterfall in the midst of that arid landscape, and we couldn’t wait to see it. The round trip hike to Calf Creek Falls is about 5 1/2 miles (learn more here), and it is a beautiful trek. The green riparian creek area is stunning contrasted against the red cliff walls. We dubbed this The Valley of the Pterodactyl. Can’t you imagine a pterodactyl flying overhead?
It’s blissfully cool by the waterfalls.
The bottom is sandy and perfect for cooling your toes after the hike.
We’ve returned a few times since 1998, and I’m happy to report that although a few hotels, restaurants, and B&Bs were built in the area to accommodate visitors to the national monument, you can still find many places in which to enjoy the solitude and escape civilization.