Grand Staircase - Escalante Photography Part 1: Trip Itinerary

December 12, 2013  •  3 Comments

 

Mountain range viewed from 50 Mile Road at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah.  "In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia."  - Charles A. Lindberg
, Aviator

Our recent trip to Grand Staircase  - Escalante National Monument, Utah, was both exhilarating and exhausting. This being our first visit to Escalante, we had a long list of destination sites, but only two days for hiking and photography. Still, through excellent planning on the part of my son-in-law, Todd Severson, we managed to get an excellent overview of this extraordinary geological wonderland.

NIKON D800E,f/8 @ 200 mm1/60ISO 200

Coyote Gulch at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah.

Grand Staircase is a landscape photographer's dream come true: miles of exposed geology, no manmade distractions, very few people and no required hiking permits or passes.  In fact, while we saw a few vehicles, we did not encounter a single hiker during the first day of our stay at Escalante.

Coyote Gulch, NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 17 mm1/80ISO 400

Located on the rugged Kiaparowits Plateau, the vast Grand Staircase - Escalante is home to several slot canyons, arches, vast mountain ranges, Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River. Encompassing nearly 1.9 million acres, the park has approximately 100 miles of roads along with extensive hiking trails.

In our next few postings, I’ll share our trip itinerary, field notes and photographs from our hikes.

Zebra Canyon, NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 25 mm1.3sISO 200

With the help of Google Earth maps and two handheld Garmin GPS units, we hiked approximately 24.5 miles over our two day stay. We were grateful to have a high clearance SUV, as many of the secondary roads traverse rugged exposed rock, while others are covered in deep drifting sand. Our trip itinerary:

  • Day 1: Travel from Phoenix to hotel in Kanab, Utah
  • Day 2: Travel from Kanab to Grand Staircase – Escalante park office to register for hiking; hikes to Zebra Canyon and Red Breaks slot canyons; sunset photography along mountain range; and, car camping at Jacob Hamblin Arch Trailhead to Coyote Gulch.
  • Day 3: Sunrise photography of Fifty Mile Mountain range; Coyote Gulch hike, via the Crack in the Wall route; and return to Phoenix.

<<< Video from Coyote Gulch

Having spent considerable time in nearby Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, I am so grateful that we finally made it to this remote expanse of the Colorado Plateau. We are already brainstorming plans for a return trip,  saving our vacation days for a longer visit this next time.   More to follow …

 

Related postings:  Grand Staircase - Escalante Part 2:  Zebra Canyon and Red Breaks, Grand Staircase - Escalante Part 3: Coyote GulchWhite Pockets at Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs, Glen Canyon Recreation Area (Alstrom Point at Lake Powell), Arizona-Utah Border, Utah Landscape Photography and Antelope Canyon


Comments

3.Len Cicio(non-registered)
Thanks for sharing this with everyone Marcus. Absolutely stunning photos! !! Happy Holidays to you and all the best for the new year.
Warmest regards,
Len
2.Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Curtis - Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. Escalante is a truly unique place ...
1.Curtis Rattray(non-registered)
Those are amazing shots. Not too many places offer that kind of landscape.
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