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Grand Staircase-Escalante Nat. Monument, UT – Hiking

A hiking experience like no other!

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    A hiking experience like no other!

    Special Interest: CampingGreat OutdoorsHikingSports - Water

    Not all of the most gorgeous areas in Utah are open to dogs, but this is one truly majestic area that is dog friendly – all 1.7 million acres of it! That’s a lot of space for you and your dog to explore! The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Escalante, UT) consists of 3 sections: Grand Staircase cliffs and terraces, Kaiparowits Plateau, and Escalante River Canyons (Canyons of the Escalante). The Grand Staircase sits just between Bryce Canyon (not so dog friendly) and the Grand Canyon.

    Dogs must be on leash at the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail and in Glen Canyon Recreation Area. They are not allowed in Dry Fork slot canyons off Hole-in-the-Rock Road, including Cayote Gulch.

    There are few maintained trails in the area, so if you are new to the area it’s best to stick to the tried and true paths or find a guide. Difficult trails not only factor in terrain and elevation, but trail and weather conditions. There are many guides in the area that can take you to the best of the best.

    The very-popular Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail (6mi RT) ends at a 126-ft waterfall with swimming hole and is located just off Highway 12 in the Escalante River Canyons with the trailhead starting at the campground at GPS Coordinates 37.795789,-111.413617. The Upper Calf Creek Falls Trail (2mi+ RT) is also popular which starts at GPS Coordinates 37.859459, -111.437660 and features two waterfalls. A third option is Escalante Natural Bridge Trail (easy 4mi RT) which starts at about GPS Coordinates 37.776405, -111.419679 and meanders along the Escalante River. Go a little farther west and you’ll see the Escalante Natural Arch. More hiking trail options by difficulty level can be found on, but remember that dogs are not allowed in Dry Fork slot canyons, especially Cayote Gulch. Some dogs have been able to go to Peekaboo Canyon, however, it’s hard for many dogs to get through safely or at all. Some passes are too hard for a dog to get through and the terrain is very hard on their paws. It’s safe to have them sit this hike out, unless you want to risk your own safety by hauling them on your hike.

    Don’t count on just stopping by and deciding where to go. The entire area is huge so we do recommend advanced planning to figure out exactly where you want to go! We at least can give you a concise summary and point you to some sources that will help you out. Stop by one of several visitor centers along either Highway 12 (north) or 89 (south) when you get there for more information and last minute park notices or area closures. Don’t forget to grab a USGS map and free permit if staying overnight. Four major cities in the area include, Cannonville, Escalante, Kanab, and Big Water. It’s a good idea to stop by one of these cities to stock up on food and essentials before you head out to backcountry.

    The Bureau of Land Management puts out a nice brochure and an interactive map to help plan your trip. has an easy to follow guide to hiking the area on their website.

    Take a photo of your dog on the hiking trail! Which trail did you go on! What was your favorite part of the trail? When did you go? Any additional tips for dog owners?


    Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

    Location: Escalante, UT | Garfield County | Utah
    Activities: Hiking, Walking, Swimming

    TAGS: Backpacking, Camping, Escalante, Escalante Natural Arch, Escalante Natural Bridge Trail, Escalante River Canyon, Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Hiking, Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail, Peekaboo Canyon, Slot Canyon, Swimming, Upper Calf Creek Falls Trail, Utah, Walking

    Items Needed: Water, Poop Bags, First Aid Kit, Tick Removal Tool, 6 Foot Non-Retractable Leash or Hands-Free Leash, Paw Protection, Reflective Gear On Your Dog, Other Appropriate Gear & Food, Map, Compass, Extra Socks, Appropriate Gear for Knee-Deep Water, Sunscreen, Hat, Hand Sanitizer, Wipes

    Safety: It's a good idea to go with another buddy (human) in case of an emergency. You will be far from developed areas. What you bring in the park, you must bring out. The best time to go is early spring or fall. Summer is usually too hot for dogs. Don't forget to bring filtered water for your dog to drink! Never leave your dogs in the car unattended if it is too hot out! Watch out for rain in the forecast. Flash floods are known to occur in the area. If it happens to be thundering, avoid going to the highest points and do not stand under a tree. A few of the side canyons may have very high water, so please inquire about conditions at the visitor center before you go. If you are camping, select a campsite away from water and on high ground. Traps have been found in the area so watch your dog so that he doesn't stray onto hidden areas where he may also encounter wild animals, scorpions, rattlesnakes, or other insects and poisonous plants. Pay attention to your dog as there are wild animals he may not be familiar with in the area, including poisonous snakes. Please consult your vet before hiking with your dog. Puppies and dogs with joint problems should probalby stay at home. Remember to take small and steady water breaks to prevent bloat or water intoxication. And don't forget to check the paws!

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