CAMPING: ESCALANTE

There are endless camping opportunities in Utah. We could spend every weekend out in nature and never hit the same spot twice, but that's exactly what we did once we found our spot in Escalante. 

We approached the area after sundown for both of the visits, and both times we had to dodge deer left and right. Our approach was via Salt Lake City and took us through the Dixie National Forest, so we weren't surprised by this, but it still made for some white knuckle moments. Once we got to our destination we killed the headlights and kept the lanterns tucked away, the light of the moon and stars was enough to set up camp. 

Our initial thought on that first visit was that we would camp at Lower Calf Creek Falls; however, every site was taken when we arrived. You know that word fate? Well I think that played a role here. While the sites were charming and well groomed, they weren't really our style. The 13 sites (first come, first served) are packed in pretty tight, and with a popular trailhead in the middle you don't get much peace. The camp host provided us with some insider insight on his favorite OTG BLM sites and we hightailed it out of there. I am SO glad we did. 

I would love to provide the mile marker where we found our weekend getaway, but humanity has disappointed me too much to do so. When we arrived for our second trip the area looked like the result of a teenager's Halloween prank: TP everywhere. Even giving the previous inhabitants the benefit of the doubt (maybe they don't know that it is now required to pack out your TP and human waste) I was still stunned to find there wasn't even an attempt to bury it. So this is my bitter stand. Not giving out my exact coordinates. 

That being said, there are so many spectacular BLM camping options that will do just fine. Our site was the perfect jump off point for a small 15 minute hop to Lower Calf Creek Falls, slightly longer commute of 40 minutes to Zebra Canyon Trail, and a haul to get to the trailhead of Golden Cathedral. It was also a quick 10 minutes from Kiva Koffeehouse, a great break from the great outdoors if you're looking for a delicious meal or quick cappuccino. Kiva is open from April - October.

That reminds me: while the campsites are open at Lower Calf Creek Falls are open year-round, the potable water and restrooms are locked seasonally. We foolishly counted on refilling our waters after our Golden Cathedral hike and ended up having to boil Escalante River water to consume Saturday night as we didn't pack our filtration system. Not a deal breaker, but worth noting so you don't make the same mistake we did.  

Enjoy some photos from our trips, Trip 1 was done in early October and Trip 2 was late December. Weather was absolute perfection both times, sunny and 65 in the day and cool enough at night for a few layers of thermal. 


Osa in our sunset spot.

Osa in our sunset spot.


Making plans to take over the world.

Making plans to take over the world.


We just started using a solar camp shower the comfort it adds is worth the space in the car. It also doubles as a device to rinse the dogs when they roll in dead stuff. 

We just started using a solar camp shower the comfort it adds is worth the space in the car. It also doubles as a device to rinse the dogs when they roll in dead stuff. 


The trailhead for Zebra Slot Canyon is just 30 minutes away from our BLM campsite, there are, however, sites that stem off from  UT12-E  (the road that the trailhead parking lot is on). 

The trailhead for Zebra Slot Canyon is just 30 minutes away from our BLM campsite, there are, however, sites that stem off from  UT12-E  (the road that the trailhead parking lot is on). 


Lower Calk Creek Falls, the trailhead of which is in Calf Creek Falls Campground. 

Lower Calk Creek Falls, the trailhead of which is in Calf Creek Falls Campground. 


Golden Cathedral is a MUST visit, and just about an hour and a half from our campsite near Calf Creek. There were also plenty of BLM campsites found stemming from the road to the trailhead and permits are attainable if you would like to camp within the Glen Canyon recreation area. 

Golden Cathedral is a MUST visit, and just about an hour and a half from our campsite near Calf Creek. There were also plenty of BLM campsites found stemming from the road to the trailhead and permits are attainable if you would like to camp within the Glen Canyon recreation area.