I read quite a few travel blogs and most of them have a common theme… while traveling don’t plan everything down to the minute… you know like I do.
I know my planning style doesn’t leave the door open for much spontaneity and often leaves me cutting things out because it takes longer to get somewhere or do something than I think. I do this as I would rather cut down than waste a morning in a hotel room trying to decide what to do. It takes me forever to decide what TV show to watch – I can’t imagine what I would do trying to plan on the fly while traveling. Who wants to waste time in a hotel room when they could be out exploring?
My trip to Utah had been plagued with rain most of the week and I felt my over planning had finally paid off. I was fortunate enough to be able to shift some things around to accommodate the weather and was granted a few extra hours on day 6 of our week long trip.
With these few hours I spontaneously decided to add the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park to our trip. I had researched it while planning our visit to Utah but cut it from the itinerary due to time constraints. With the extra time I decided to fill it with a trip to see some petrified wood.
We parked and I leashed up Boomer as it was a state park and dog friendly. At the fee collection booth we were given a map and a brief explanation of the trails. I was excited to take the Nature Trail as it was peppered with petrified wood. You may remember our other petrified wood debacle earlier last year. It didn’t turn out so great!
Boomer and I climbed up the steep hillside and reached the top where we were given a great view of the park and the water reservoir. Fortunately Boomer did not notice the water, otherwise I am sure he would have thought he needed to go for a swim!
Part way along the trail Boomer and I stopped for water. Another hiker passed by us and Boomer negotiated a few pets from the gentleman. It was at this stop that I misplaced the map (and I still have not found it to this day). Although the trail was easy to follow, there were numbered markers along the path that I assumed had some sort of explanation on the map. Boomer and I enjoyed walking around the park and finding the petrified wood scattered along the trail regardless of loosing the map.
The trail is broken up into two sections, a shorter 1 mile (1.6 km) path or if you are feeling like adding on more fun, an additional ½ mile (.8km). I had only intended on taking the shorter path but ended up taking the entire trail due to my excellent sense of direction and not having the map. We also walked the trail backwards – not that it mattered but I am sure we looked like rebels as we passed other hikers walking the “correct direction”.
It was an impressive show of petrified wood along the trail and I was pleased that we had made the stop. I was slightly disappointed with their gift shop however as it was unmanned and had little to look at other than a public shaming of apology letters from visitors who had stolen petrified wood from the park. If you visit the park remember to leave everything where it is – even if it is really cool and you think no one will notice!
If you would like to visit Escalante State Park they are located at 710 North Reservoir Road Escalante, UT 84726 off of Utah Highway 12. They are open 7am – 10 pm during the summer and 8am – 10pm in the winter. There is a $6 USD fee which also includes use of the water reservoir (don’t tell Boomer). There are campgrounds nearby offering both tenting and RV camping as well as picnic tables for anyone looking to extend their visit.