East of Bryce Canyon, Hwy-12 curves along the edge of the Table Cliff Plateau before dropping into the remote canyons of the Escalante River, the last river system discovered within the continental US and site of some wonderful backpacking routes. The Escalante region is the focus of the vast Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the main visitor centre for which is at the west end of ESCALANTE, 38 miles east of Tropic.
The most accessible highlight is Calf Creek, sixteen miles east of Escalante, where a trail leads just under three miles upstream from a nice undeveloped campground to a gorgeous shaded dell replete with a 125ft waterfall. More ambitious trips start from trailheads along the dusty but usually passable Hole-in-the-Rock Road, which turns south from Hwy-12 five miles east of Escalante. A trio of slender, storm-gouged slot canyons, including the delicate, graceful Peek-a-Boo Canyon and the downright intimidating Spooky Canyon, can be reached by a mile-long hike from the end of Dry Fork Road, 26 miles along. From Hurricane Wash, 34 miles along, you can hike five miles to reach Coyote Gulch and then a further five miles, passing sandstone bridges and arches, to the Escalante River. Under normal conditions, two-wheel-drive vehicles should go no further than Dance Hall Rock, 36 miles down the road, a superb natural amphitheatre sculpted out of the slickrock hills.
Thirty miles beyond Escalante, at BOULDER, the Burr Trail, almost all of which is paved, heads east through the southern reaches of Capitol Reef National Park and down to Lake Powell.