Phipps Arch swoops through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument affording constant view of bizarre and beautiful land, as hikers search for this hidden arch. There is no official trail - getting to the arch requires a little research and planning. This is a hike you definitely want to have a GPS for. Because this is a trail-less approach, you will rarely see many people hiking here because it's not nearly as popular as its neighbor trail, Lower Calf Creek Falls.
Broken Bow Arch is located off Hole in the Rock Road (HITR), 41 miles south of Escalante, UT. Broken Bow spans nearly 100 ft, and sits in the middle of Willow Gulch. This trail is more popular among backpackers looking to reach Fortymile Gulch as well. This hike can be done in a loop, but is just as good as an out-and-back hike at 4 miles RT.
Zebra Slot Canyon is located off of Hole in the Rock Road, near Escalante, UT. The hike is only 2 miles in, and the best section of the striped walls only lasts for about 100 ft. Getting to the slot is quite easy, as it meanders through Juniper & Sage brush, cuts through a beautiful red rock canyon, then open up as you walk through the sandy dry wash, and eventually leads to the iconic striped walls resembling zebra stripes.
Spooky & Peekaboo are the most popular slot canyons in the Escalante area. The access is easy, you can easily do both as a loop in a few hours, and hikers without technical canyoneering equipment or skills can enjoy both. Spooky slot canyon is one of the narrowest canyons in the world that hikers can safely navigate. It's much longer and slimmer than Peekaboo, forcing hikers to carry daypacks to the side as you shuffle through. Add in a few short obstacles and one 5 ft scramble to make it that much more fun. Claustrophobic people will have a hard time with this Spooky.
The Rochester Panel and Molen Reef Petroglyphs are near Emery, Utah, and consists of one very large panel of hundreds of images likely carved by the Fremont Native Americans. The vast majority of the petroglyphs have a strong Barrier Canyon influence, including animals, female/male figures, and one large rainbow-like image. Molen Reef Petroglyphs are much smaller, but still expose what the native people were contemplating. You can easily combine both in one afternoon, as the hike to the Rochester Panel is only 1/2 mile, and you can drive right up to the Molen Reef area. Kids, dogs, and casual hikers will enjoy these areas, but please respect the rules and DO NOT touch any of the petroglyphs.
The Dutchman Arch & the Head of Sinbad Pictographs are located in the San Rafael Swell - they are actually only about 1/4 and 1/2 mile north of I-70, but driving there takes some effort and a 4X4 drive car. Dutchman Arch is actually quite large, and a fun area to explore with dogs or kids. There's no hiking involved - you can park on either side of the arch.
The Swasey Cabin and Lone Warrior Pictograph are located in the San Rafael Swell west of Green River, UT. The area is rich with history that includes Butch Cassidy and "The Wild Bunch", as well as Native American rock art. The Swasey Cabin was built in 1921 with Douglas Fir logs, and belonged to Joseph Swasey and his family who farmed and ran livestock in the "heart of Sinbad Country", according to the BLM.
The trails I gravitate to most are the ones right out the door - no more than an hour's drive from Salt Lake City. These are the trails I do right before or after work, with friends, solo, or save the bigger hikers for the weekend. Whether you want to see new trails, improve your fitness, or lose weight, use this book as a tool for motivation.