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Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground

Escalante - Grand Staircase Area, Utah

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Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground

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  • Lakeside camping in the state park campground.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • View of the campground from the nature trail.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • Don't miss out on sunset over Wide Holllow Reservoir just outside of Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • Chunks of petrified wood line the self-guided interpretive nature trail in Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • Balanced rock on the nature trail in Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • Fall on Wide Holllow Reservoir.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • The main trail is easy, but there is one steeper side hike that accesses more terrain and petrified wood.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • The town of Escalante seen from an overlook on the nature trail.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • A huge petrified tree lays across the trail.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • Escalante Petrified Forest State Park Campground and Wide Hollow Reservoir.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
  • Picnic shelters under tall cottonwood trees.- Escalante Petrified Forest State Park + Campground
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Dinosaur fossils. Clear lake. Nature trail. Convenient location.
Cons: 
Small campsites. Limited privacy.
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Region:
Escalante - Grand Staircase Area, UT
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park has a name similar to other parks in the Southwest, but this small area is a separate holding within the Utah State Parks system. It has a nice campground, self-guided nature trail, and a lake with fishing and boat access. Located on the route between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, it makes a convenient overnight stop near the town of Escalante.

The park is notable for its collection of petrified wood and dinosaur fossils. Some are displayed in the small visitor center, and others are visible on the 1-mile nature trail loop. Grab a brochure from the visitor center for a self-guided tour of the trail's numbered points of interest.

The lake is Wide Hollow Reservoir, and it is available for day use with an $8 fee. During the summer you can rent kayaks and paddleboards or bring your own. There is also a group pavilion with tables and a large grill that is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The campground is right next to the lake. It is full of shady cottonwood trees, and most sites have a picnic shelter, so even the heat of summer is good camping weather. Tent sites are $19 per night, and RV sites with water and hookups are $25. Each site has a grill and fire ring. There are restrooms with showers, and drinking water is available at spigots. On the lakeshore is one group site that accommodates 50 people.

The area's fossils are remnants of the late Jurassic Period, when muddy rivers flowed and dinosaurs walked on this land. Floods would cover trees and animals, and when the mud turned to stone over eons of transformation, the mineralized wood and bones were left behind. Signs in the park and the nature trail brochure do a good job of explaining the complex geology of this place. Fossils are irreplaceable treasures, and removing them is punishable by law. Simply view the fossils where they are and leave them for others to enjoy.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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