Yup, my husband is a Park Ranger for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and I am a Travel Writer. A Guest just suggested that I let upcoming visitors know that we do a little more then just provide a sweet room with a great breakfast (& attention from our Canine Co-Hostess, don't miss Snuffles Dog Blog here as well). We actually provide a good bit of expert, insider assistance planning your hikes, your many adventures, even your daily opportunities for enjoying this neat little Western community ~~ speaking of which, I need to let our new guests know about the great Pioneer Day Parade in town tomorrow....Later! Laurel
Kane County, Southern Utah, has been named to National Geographic's BEST SPRING TRIPS 2014 list. Of course, we know that Southern Utah is in every way one of the world's greatest natural treasure chests but now the rest of the world will know as well. Two of their recommendations here were; visiting the Rockin'V Restaurant for a Kanab-a-Dabba-Doo burger (good idea), going to Willow Canyon Outdoor for gear and attending the (upcoming - 3rd week of May) Amazing Earthfest. I could add many, many other recommendations ...
Here is how they described us:
" Kane County sits in the middle of southwestern Utah's staggering smorgasbord: narrow slot canyons, polychrome cliffs, wavelike buttes, and world-class paleontological sites. From Kanab, the county seat, its 90 minutes or less to three national parks - Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion; Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and the rugged and remote, 1.9-million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the last area in the continental United States to be mapped."
All very exciting, and very true. The beauty here is mesmerizing.
Everyone wants to visit one of the best known features here in S'Utah - The Wave. Lottery applications are submitted online months in advance and people still come to Kanab in hopes of being one of the few selected in the daily lottery here in Kanab. For those lucky ones who get a coveted permit, The Wave is astounding - BUT, there are some equally remarkable and lesser known alternatives. If you can't see The Wave, find The White Pockets. I'm almost reluctant to advertise it since the scarcity of visitors is part of what makes it so uncanny. The White Pockets are a geological formation that astounds at every curve - in ancient history wind and water shaped an unusual arena of white,red and orange rock that twists and turns . It is ultra-real and tremendous. The name originally came from the stony "pockets" that dot the area, I was told that hiking The White Pockets is best after a rain because the small pools reflect the vivid colors of surrounding rock. Hard to imagine the place being any more spectacular but I intend on finding out. The last time I was there we all wore our camera chips and "wow's" out. This is so much a part of the lesser known but equally great part of S'Utah. We specialize in rock that is incomparable, matchless.
I went there with an exceptional expedition company located here in Kanab; Dreamland Safari Tours and really thank Will for a great experience. The road out to the White Pockets can only be accomplished by a serious 4x4 and driver accustomed to the challenges of back-country driving so I do encourage visitors to enlist with Dreamland Safari Tours. Will loves this country with a passion and will take great care of you - nice lunch, good photo tips. On the drive back we also hiked The Wire Pass - an impressive, narrow Slot Canyon that easily takes your breath away as you pass through wave-y walls of rock, slipping into a crack of earth with shafts of sun cracking through from above to illuminate the sinuous, multi-colored rock walls. Another big Wow here. The famous Antelope Canyon really is just one of many other and beautiful Slot Canyons in this region.
Spring (& Desert Wildflowers) In Southern Utah
While the sharp sting of winter is still on your mind, start planning a spring get-away to the blue skies, kind temperatures and blooming beauty of Utah. With desert temperatures reaching mid 50’s to 70’s during the day and 30-45 at night (depending on elevation) spring is an excellent time to explore before the rush of summertime tourists.
The NORTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON re-opens Mid-May and once again offers visitors a grand beauty that nearly overwhelms the senses. The classic old National Parks Lodge will again be serving meals in its dining room with an unforgettable view, while it is still wise to make dinner reservations in advance your chances of getting in last minute are greatly improved. The North Rim, in my mind, is more impressive then the South Rim, more serene and definitely less developed. Those early weeks in spring are a tremendous time to be there and feel the splendor of the place in greater privacy.
There is no doubt that the best time to explore ZION NATIONAL PARK is spring and autumn. Zion is Utah’s 1st National Park and encompasses 229 square miles of deep canyons, steep walls and rocky plateaus that look like colorful sandcastles crowning desert canyons. Due to its location at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert, Zion possesses a variety of life zones resulting in unusual plant and animal diversity – there are over 900 different plant species.
By April, many of the cactus and other wildflowers will erupt into their short-lived dramatic beauty – desert marigold, the eye-catching slickrock paintbrush. The Zion Field Institute conducts several field trips to the lower canyon in April to view wildflowers, and a trip to Kolob Canyon mid-May.
Other great sites for viewing spring wildflowers are the Lake Powell/Glen Canyon region and in the Grand Staircase- Escalante
National Monument. Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon are at higher elevations so begin their bloom later in June. Spring storms at Bryce, with an elevation up to 9,115’ above sea level, brings the opportunity to rent cross-country skiis or snow shoes at Ruby’s Lodge and glide along the Fairyland Rim Loop viewing the fantastic red-orange spires of the canyon laced in white.
For the adventurous visitors who wish to seriously explore slot canyons like Peek-A-Boo, Round Valley Draw and others spring is also considered the optimal time. Our next blog will be on Slot Canyons large and small.
With over five National Parks, 7 National Monuments and over 22 million acres of BLM land there is a desert vacation in Southern Utah to suit everyone – casual hikes to serious wilderness exploration. We look forward to helping you discover this amazing region in all its diversity and plan your adventure.
Laurel is an avid writer/artist, loves history and cultural exploration - and sharing the high desert of the SW with guests visiting Savage Point B&B.