State Route 12
A name like ‘scenic byway’ can sound deceptively innocent. Though the quiet may startle you, this drive through the countryside is anything but sleepy. The paved state highway connects two of Utah’s most spectacular, vast landscapes – Capitol Reef National Park to the north and Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument to the south. Follow State Route 12 over the Aquarius Plateau, highest timbered region in the United States and home to a healthy wild elk population, and you’ll eventually arrive at the front drive of one of Utah’s best restaurants: award-winning Hell’s Backbone Grill.
Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch
[ 37° 54' 19.6344'' N, 111° 30' 22.3632'' W ]
An oasis in the desert, Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch is a well-kept
secret, tucked quietly away from Scenic Highway 12. In addition to
six rooms in the main house and three family-style bunk rooms, the
ranch offers three newly remodeled private cabins and two luxury
glamping experiences – one a Native American-style tipi
surrounded by a private deck and rain shower, the other a cowboy
style tent. Learn survival skills including fire starting from the
resident survivalist, Matt Graham.
P+ 01 435 335 480 / W+ bouldermountainguestranch.com
Calf Creek Campground, 11 miles south of Boulder
and 15 miles east of Escalante on Highway 12.
Lower Calf Creek
[ 37° 47' 55.7952'' N, 111° 24' 43.5276'' W ]
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah
One hike to Lower Calf Creek and you’ll discover why this is the
most popular and scenic hikes in the area. The 5.8-mile roundtrip
route makes a great hike for moderate fitness levels and families. Pick up the interpretive map at the trail head to learn the desert vegetation and view ancient petroglyphs high on the desert sandstone walls. Avoid the crowds by going first thing in the morning – and don’t forget your bathing suit! The highlight of the hike is the spectacular waterfall and ice-cold swimming hole at the turnaround point.