Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument is a sprawling (for now) conservation area in southern Utah. We spent several days crisscrossing it and came across a variety of excellent areas for climbing, fishing, hiking and canyoneering. This picture is taken from an impressive road segment called the hogback along Utah route 12.
We did a couple longer hikes in Grand Staircase, this one is Calf Creek Canyon which lies between the towns of Boulder and Escalante. It's a three mile hike (each way) to the lower falls. There is a separate trailhead and hike to the upper falls. Much of the hike is along one wall of a generally open canyon like this.
Along the way there are views of ruined granaries and these pictographs across the canyon.
In the final mile the canyon begins to close in with sheer towering walls and a lot more tree cover. This is a very pleasant area to hike in.
The trail ends at Lower Calf Creek Falls which is an impressive scene, particularly if you've been hiking about the deserts of Utah for a while.
Swimming is an option here but this water was quite frigid in April. That didn't stop a few people from swimming and many people from wading. It's a long hot hike back after all.
The second hike we did was south of Cannonville, Utah which lies below Bryce Canyon. In fact the creek we followed through Willis Canyon drains part of the National Park. The parking area for Willis Canyon is a few miles down a dirt road outside of Cannonville. Four-wheel drive may be required depending on the recent weather.
This is an accessible slot canyon which is narrow enough to be fun and interesting but it is not technical and flash flooding is unlikely to present an immediate danger. There is likely to be water in the canyon though as you can see in these pictures.
The rocks have been sculpted into all sorts of fantastical shapes and patterns. One nice thing about Willis Creek is that the hike starts just above the slot section so you'll be into the narrows almost immediately. There are four separate narrow sections with some wider areas separating them.
There's no specific endpoint to this hike. Eventually a couple other canyons merge into Willis Creek. Some of them can be explored as well although there is a bit of technical climbing involved on some of them.