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Camping, Hiking and Outdoor Activities Camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities within.

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  #1  
Old 07-16-2021, 8:05 PM
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Default Utah Trip to Bryce Cyn Grand Staircase Capital Reef

Just came back from a few weeks road trip to some Nation Parks in Utah with the Mrs, and my boy. Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase Escalante and Capital Reef. If you haven't been you must! The amazing beauty of that great State can not be easily summed up with words.

We took the Loneliest Road in America cruising across 50 and got a chance to see some great America steel from Pittsburgh in action outside of Ely; the number 93 steaming up the line. At 112 years old she still turns heads!



After making camp in the bush we made our own tracks down the Ely Hwy to Beaver Ut, and onto Bryce Canyon for a few days. The drive into the area has just as much fun areas to hike and camp with the multicolor Hoodoos that provided inspiration for Disneyland's Thunder Mountain ride. The park itself is amazing in beauty, and thus crowded...in areas. But not a problem to those that like to ruck! Up early and and on the trail each day exploring, parking in the far areas we really didn't have a problem. The campgrounds were packed, but we only went their to raid for water. We camped outside the park in Nation Forest land. They do try and scare away folks from camping, but a little 4x4 and you're got a scenic camp!

The hikes in the canyons are not that strenuous, they are meticulously maintained. The most vertical elevation is the Peek-A-Boo loop, but its well worth it!







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Old 07-16-2021, 8:05 PM
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Rucking the kid wasn't bad, he enjoyed every second! We managed to knockout trails with no problems and getting up early to start helped a lot! And mid day we just cruised to the various pull offs and look outs.









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Last edited by Neuvik; 07-16-2021 at 8:26 PM..
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Old 07-16-2021, 8:06 PM
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Bryce fuel is pretty expensive, but drops a dollar or more as soon as you drop down to the next valleys. Once we hit the town of Escalante we let the Power Wagon get some proper 4x4; turning onto Smokey Mountain Road. Smokey Mountain Road goes to Lake Powell, we didn't go that far, veering out to Left Hand Collet Road. Smokey Mountain Road is easy diving, once you goto Left Hand Collet Road there are some small rocky sections with oil pan eaters for low clearance vehicles. But the canyons are scenic, and sparsely traveled. Be warned it is susceptible to flash floods, found a few dead cows from past events.

We made camp at the 20 Mile Dinosaur Tracks. This is a very cool place and well worth the time to visit. The Sandstone is hundreds of thousands of years old, and as the name suggests has over 100 dinosaur foot prints on them. They are weathered, but some are very clear. In this area there are lots of cool slot canyons, arches and hoodoos to explore. Devils Playground is a fun place to stop and has vault toilets. The Hole in the Rock Road was well scrapped if you want an easy way in.









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Old 07-16-2021, 8:26 PM
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20 Mile is a fun place to use as a basecamp. The kid loved playing on the sandstone and sand, plus the hiking was fun and just goofing off on the geological features. There are plenty of Indian rock art out there too.









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Old 07-16-2021, 9:10 PM
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After some time we move camps to a new location so we could explore the canyons of the Escalante River. There are tons of Indian rock art in the area, waterfalls and arches. Not to mention the swimming pools in the river provide a great places to cool off and beat some summer heat. We stayed at an awesome bushwhack place on BLM land. The Escalante Land Bridge is a pretty cool landmark, the parking lot can get filled fast though.











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Old 07-17-2021, 5:05 AM
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There is a cool depression near the Escalante River with over 100 handprints on them from the natives. I went up there to check it out, pictures never due the steepness justice. But its steep enough to worry about. I really dont think its where they kept their families; felt more like a right of passage for the young warriors.

The Calf Creek Falls is an excellent and scenic hike but get there early! Parking lot fills up fast. The hike is 6 miles out and back so not bad all, some long sections are exposed though; bring plenty of water. Fresh water available at the parking lot, filled my scepter cans up. There are campgrounds here too, but the area is popular.









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Old 07-17-2021, 5:10 AM
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Looks like a fantastic trip! Definitely something I'd like to do. Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-17-2021, 5:17 AM
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Wow what a cool trip. I haven`t been to Bryce in probly 40 years.
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Old 07-17-2021, 5:36 AM
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Outstanding AAR, thanks.
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Old 07-17-2021, 6:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Casual_Shooter View Post
Looks like a fantastic trip! Definitely something I'd like to do. Thanks for posting.
Thank you! The place is amazing and hard to really summarize easily. The park is monumentally fun, but also tons of great trails in the forest lands surrounding the park with Hoodoos and multicolored rock. I would certainly add it to a "must go" destination. Just fill up fuel before or after Bryce.

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Wow what a cool trip. I haven`t been to Bryce in probly 40 years.
Appreciate it! Well still time to always head back! I think they did an amazing job with all the look outs too. The Lodge was open for stay and dinning as well, was fun to walk through and see some of the history of the lodge from the bygone days. The pictures of folks hiking and women in full dress from the 1930's was an interesting contrast to how it goes today haha.

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Outstanding AAR, thanks.
Thanks!
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Old 07-17-2021, 7:03 AM
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After exploring Escalante for a few days we started towards Capital Reef by way of Boulder Ut. Boulder is a very picturesque town. The and the old spur of the Burr Trail, At the entrance of which the Burr Trail Grill has some good chow and pies to go!

We took the Burr trail and Before entering onto Halls Creek road we veered off to Peekaboo Double Arch and to the fantastic Strike Valley Overlook! It says high clearance, but meh, didn't look hard at all. The Double Arch is cool! Don't miss it!

After which we drove north on Halls Creek and on into Fruita which is a Historic Mormon town which now sort of functions as the parks administrative area. Fruita didn't even get motorized tractors until after WWII, like 1947. They did everything by hand, beast of burden, or did without. The make pies, but the pretty much sell out of the pies by 9!!! So get there super early.


















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Old 07-17-2021, 9:31 AM
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Thank you for the wonderful pics and tips. Kid looked like he had a blast!
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Old 07-17-2021, 10:10 AM
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Thank you for the wonderful pics and tips. Kid looked like he had a blast!
Glad you enjoyed the pictures! I always get inspired by others posts here and hope mine helps others!

Nobody ever went to their death bed saying "Boy, wish I spent more time at work!"

Thanks! The kid was all over the place we let him run all over save for the hikes near ledges. He did the 1 mile hike to Strike Valley overlook himself with only a few nudgings away from cactus. He loves being outdoor, climbing! ...think there might be an option 40 contract in his future

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Old 07-17-2021, 10:33 AM
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Outstanding!!!

Thanks for sharing, UT is on my escape list...
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Old 07-17-2021, 8:48 PM
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Thank you for taking the time to post this great trip report! How was the heat?
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Old 07-18-2021, 2:04 PM
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Outstanding!!!

Thanks for sharing, UT is on my escape list...
Thanks! The hardest part of the trip was my wife saying "No" to ever ranch for sale I'd go look at. There are some gems out there!

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Thank you for taking the time to post this great trip report! How was the heat?
Ofcourse! Great Question, so not that bad in Bryce Canyon, high 70s low 80s, but breezy so felt awesome. Down in the Hoodoos it was nice and cool! The rim trail is exposed. But there are plenty of shaded areas and the cloud were always going over shading the valley.

Grand Escalante and Capital Reef were 90s and exposed. The Mrs and I don't mind the heat, and pretty much hiked to water sources every day; our only concern was the kid. We used those special dew rag things you put water on and his backpack keeps him shaded.

Capital Reef only has 2 designated campgrounds and doesn't allow boondocks camping. But I managed to find some an old homestead outside on BLM land with larger Juinipers to cover the area. That one I forgot to take photos of, was very cool, and those were some hard folks to homestead out there.



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