Hey guys! We have some big news coming…but it will have to wait for another post. Today we’re going to share our first camping trip of 2018. In early March, we traveled to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. The campground is in the southwest region of Utah, off UT-12 W, just southwest of the town of Escalante.
This is our campsite. As you can see, we bought a new (to us) camper and pickup. (For those of you wondering, the pickup camper was just too small for the amount of traveling we intend to do.) There are two loops of campsites, about twenty-two in total. Our site had an electric and water hook-up and was perfectly level. It was right by the road, but the campground was really quiet, so there wasn’t a lot of traffic.
There was some good spring wind going, so the kids tested out their kite flying skills.
Here are the visitor center and picnic area. They have some cool stuff in the visitor center, and they have Wi-Fi. (It’s not the best, but anything in a state park is nice.) The self check-in station is next to the visitor center. After you get checked in, go over to the picnic area. They have an entire petrified tree on display. It’s pretty awesome. From there, you will find the hiking trails and more petrified wood–lots more.
On Saturday, we decided to take a walk in Dixie National Forest, which is only a couple of miles west of Escalate. The dogs ran around, got in some good exercise, and we found a few cool things. See the above picture? That’s a pinecone that some kind of animal picked clean. (If you know what does this, let us know in the comments!) There were signs of past fire damage, but it was awesome to see the forest starting to grow back. We didn’t see or hear another soul–it was super awesome.
The next day, we took an hour trip southwest on UT-12 W to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was still cold in March but definitely something everyone should see once.
In conclusion, here are our thoughts on the park and that region of Utah:
Jake – Escalate Petrified Forest State Park has some amazing examples of petrified wood. I think they are a must-see if you’re in the area, but unless it’s seventy-five degrees or higher, and you have a boat and like to fish, I suggest you stay one night in the park. Don’t get me wrong, the campground and the facilities were clean, and the ranger was friendly and helpful…but there’s not a lot to do in Escalate, and it’s not close enough to the national parks to use as a base to explore. Go ahead and stay one night, do the hike, and head to Bryce, Zion, or Capital Reef.
Shari – The campground was adorable, and the scenery was beautiful, even in early spring when the cottonwoods were still bare. (I think autumn would be a great time to visit. Yellow cottonwood leaves against the desert red rock and deep blue skies would be striking.) Also, the ranger opened up the showers while we were there, which was so appreciated! But still, I agree with Jake–the hike is definitely worth a stop, but I wouldn’t stay for more than a night or two.