1 - 2 Hours
Welcome to the Grand Staircase Escalante tour
Explore the hidden wonders of UT-12 with an epic and scenic drive through Grand Staircase Escalante. Drive along the Hogback (the ridgeline), learn about the hidden mysteries of this giant geologic staircase, and discover the long-buried secrets of the Fremont and Puebloans.
About the Tour
Your adventure into the stunning Utah landscape begins near the Red Canyon Visitor Center, perched high up on the rocky cliffs of Flaming Gorge and offering a commanding view of the vast Red Canyon, carved by the Green River many eons ago.
Next on the Grand Staircase Escalante tour, you’ll pass by Bryce Canyon National Park and get a crash course in the wild geology that created both Bryce and the Grand Staircase. Then, we’ll reach the staircase itself and gain insight into the ancient Fremont and Puebloans who once called this land home. We’ll also hear about the Paiute, who later occupied this harsh landscape and wove intricate legends about their place in it.
After that, we’ll leap back in time by an extra 75 million years to learn why the staircase is so rich in dinosaur fossils, including a T-Rex! Our next stop will be at the breathtaking Powell Point vista, where you can see the land unfurl for miles and miles in front of you.
As we keep driving on the Grand Staircase Escalante tour, we’ll regale you with even more tribal legends and myths that are still such an important part of this land. Hear the story of when Coyote tried to ride the sun and what was inside the mysterious sack offered by the Old Woman of the Sea.
We’ll then continue into the Escalante Petrified Forest, another geological time machine. The trees have long since turned to stone, and their ancient, multi-colored bark offers clues to the landscape’s distant past.
Our journey takes us next to Spooky Gulch, a particularly narrow and winding crevasse not for the faint of heart. If you’re able to make the squeeze, hiking through the gulch can be quite the experience.
Then, we’ll make our way to the Upper Calf Creek Falls and hear about the invisible life which is all around us in this seemingly empty landscape! Next, the road takes us along the famous Hogback, a dramatic, winding roadway with stunning views off to both sides.
Sail through the tiny town of Boulder (I’m talking a population of only 200!) and hear about the intrepid explorer who made a home for himself in this challenging area. Return to the Ice Age in the Dixie National Forest, then hear about the modern flora and fauna which flourish here.
Our adventure continues through the unique Heritage Overlook, where keen-eyed observers might be able to catch a glimpse of Glen Canyon, far to the southeast. Next, we move to Homestead Overlook, which affords a panoramic view of the whole landscape of Dixie Forest and the Grand Staircase.
As we make our way to Capitol Reef and the conclusion of our Grand Staircase Escalante tour, we’ll hear the surprising facts about wildfires in this area and how they help the forests survive and give rise to new generations!
Note: Because of the extremely poor cell service at the park, please keep Cellular Data OFF and WiFi ON while touring in the park.
Changing travel date? No worries! Your tour is available anytime from the moment you book.
What You'll See
Red Canyon's Arches
Bryce Canyon National Park
Powell Point Vista
Detour: Escalante Petrified Forest
Escalante Visitor Center
Lower Calf Creek Falls
Detour: Upper Creek Falls Trail
Burr Trail Road
Dixie National Forest
Larb Hollow Overlook
Capitol Reef National Park
Preview the Tour
Stop 1 : Welcome
Stop 19 : Lower Calf Creek Falls Vista
What do we do?
Well simply put, Action Tour Guide is an audio guide, map, and tour book – all in one app! We are a GPS-enabled app-based tour that narrates information based on your location right on your phone.