Utah Diaries: From Escalante State Park to Burgers in Boulder

We were pretty beat as we drove away from Bryce Canyon National Park. After an all day hike amongst the hoodoos, we had to drive a few hours to our next stop: Escalante. Actually – to be honest – we didn’t really know what our next stop would be. I guess that’s the beauty of going on a road trip! A month ago when we were planning our trip, I saw a picture of some gorgeous slot canyons/land formations in a Utah tourist magazine, and decided that we had to go and check out that area. It was in Escalante, but we really didn’t know what that meant. Escalante National Monument? Escalante State Park and Petrified Forest? Escalante city? We had no idea.

As we drove on, we passed by buffalo farms on the roadsides, and miles and miles of the most beautiful landscape ever. No wonder this highway (Highway 12, I believe?) has been designated as one of the “Top Most Scenic Highways of America”. I honestly thought they were lying at first. But then it just kept getting better and better:

Jumping for joy

Jumping for joy

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Mountains of red and tan rock as far as the eyes can see. Check out the highway on the bottom right.

Unfortunately, when we rolled into the town of Escalante, the visitor center had already closed (it was already past 5 pm). Joy was still sick and pretty tired, so while there were many places we could have camped at, I made an executive decision to stop and stay at Escalante State Park (and Petrified Forest – it was so cute). It also had a lake/reservoir nearby, and it was getting late. Joy likes water. I thought it might be a good match for us…

Well, we found out that they didn’t actually have a campsite available to us. So the park staff created one out of a picnic area. It was actually pretty nice. We even had our own bridge to our mini island of a campsite:

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Setting up tent and drying our hand-washed clothes in the picnic area shelter

After setting up, we decided to go out and explore the town a bit. The magazine mentioned a great restaurant some miles up the way in the town of Boulder (Utah, not Colorado), so we decided to head over and check the restaurants out in that area.

The town may be home to like 200 some odd people, but we found a dope little restaurant called the Burr Trail Grill off the side of Highway 12. The food was LEGIT. Oh, and all the waitresses were so adorable in their extremely stylish outfits and numerous tattoos (why do they dress way better than me? And I’m FROM the city). I thought I was in hipster-filled San Francisco for a minute. In the middle of Utah no doubt. It was awesome.

The burgers tho – lamb and beef burgers with amazing sauces and fixings. We were ELATED. Go there and be extremely happy.

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Joy in heaven. One of the highlights of our trip.

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Rainbow Pony also really enjoyed the salad


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After our amazing meal, we roamed around the town of Escalante a little bit in our car. It’s pretty quaint. Check out this late night ice cream and local fast food stand:

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That night when we came back to camp, we tried to go to sleep early but it was a bit of an uphill battle. While the campground is GREAT because it has nice sites and great bathroom facilities/amenities, it is also (for better or for worse) situated right near the city, which means that locals can hang out there on the weekend and party in their campsites – or around the parking lot. Car lights passed through our tents and radio music filled the air as we tried to sleep that night. Needless to say we didn’t get much rest.

The next day we (tried to) wake up early so that we could get on the road to begin our Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument hike. We had no idea that it would be so epic…

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It’s not a road trip without a Jetboil stove, some Utah maps and magazines, and Rainbow Pony

To be continued…!

P.S. If you’re around the town of Escalante, the State Park and Petrified Forest Park is nice – but OH MAN, check out the Calf Creek BLM site — it’s GORGEOUS little campground (and it’s the entrance for the 3 miles falls trail!)

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THIS is a campsite! Check out that backdrop and level of privacy (the site is behind the bushes)!

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