Escalante Petrified Forest State Park in Utah - Pictures

Utah vacation


Between the National Parks of Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef, my mother, niece and I discovered a couple of unique State Parks in Utah, while we were on vacation, that were conveniently situated near the road on which we were traveling. This post will show some pictures taken at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park .

We were traveling through some interesting looking scenery after leaving the extra-ordinary setting that comprises Bryce Canyon National Park.

At one point grey toned petrified sand dunes were adjacent to the road. If one would knock on them (as my niece did) they actually sounded as though they were hollow inside.

We had never even heard of petrified sand dunes prior to seeing and learning about these. They were hardened just like rocks and obviously would no longer be able to be shifted about with changing winds. Thus, the road was paved and directed right through these dunes without danger of them impeding vehicle passage. Interesting!


Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park | Source

My niece knocking on a petrified sand dune.

My niece knocking on a petrified sand dune.  Sounds hollow!
My niece knocking on a petrified sand dune. Sounds hollow! | Source

Utah travel


There seem to be many abandoned old homesteads that are seemingly left to deteriorate along this stretch of highway in southern Utah. They dot the landscape every so often and leave a trail of what used to be human habitation in those areas at some point in the past.


If only those old buildings or remnants of buildings could talk! Many stories would obviously be able to be related to willing listeners.


Will enclose a few pictures of traveling through this southern Utah country so that the reader can look (through the lens of my camera) at what we were viewing as we passed these sites.

Scenery on our way to see Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Road going through petrified sand dunes
Road going through petrified sand dunes | Source
An overlook area looking down on the many sand dunes
An overlook area looking down on the many sand dunes | Source
Abandoned building...one of several we saw dotting the landscape
Abandoned building...one of several we saw dotting the landscape | Source
An old gasoline pump...nice yard sculpture!  Ha!
An old gasoline pump...nice yard sculpture! Ha! | Source

Highway 12 - Scenic Byway


Highway 12 is the road that we were traveling between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks. It is one of the most beautiful scenic byway roads in that part of the country. All of it is paved and it runs for 122 miles between the two national parks mentioned and takes about 4 hours to go from one national park to the next if one does not stop to sight-see along the way. Open year round it accommodates visitors for every season.


The town of Escalante although small (around 850 residents) is the largest town for about 70 miles in any direction.


It offers some cafes, motels, fuel and a place to replenish camping supplies and groceries.


Located in south central Utah off of scenic highway 12, it is about 50 miles east of Bryce Canyon National Park and about 75 miles south of Capitol Reef National Park.


It is a place of wonderful scenery and a jumping off point for tours to various destinations each of them offering outdoor adventures for those inclined to take advantage of them.




Only 2 miles west of the town of Escalante is the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.

Since we were so close to this and had some extra time, my mother, niece and I decided to check it out.

This State Park is open year round and offers campgrounds, picnic areas, swimming, boating, fishing and hiking opportunities.

Elevation is at 5,800 feet.

Some petrified wood at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Some petrified wood at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Some petrified wood at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park | Source

Pictures taken on the trail in Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Some hikers from Germany on the trail with me
Some hikers from Germany on the trail with me | Source
Source
Beautiful colors in the petrified wood
Beautiful colors in the petrified wood | Source
Old trees cling to life up on the ridge
Old trees cling to life up on the ridge | Source
Balancing Rock
Balancing Rock | Source

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park



The Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is situated in a beautiful part of the State of Utah and would be especially inviting for outdoor enthusiasts.


The area has many lakes...47 of them to be exact...reservoirs, and streams in which aquatic activities can be enjoyed.

For fishermen, they can expect to catch rainbow trout and bluegill fish.


White Hollow Reservoir in Escalante State Park is made up of 130 acres. The total area of the park is made up of 1,400 acres.


The petrified wood and dinosaur bones that have been covered for centuries are gradually being worked to the surface. One can expect to see about 5 1/2 million tons of petrified wood that has been exposed due to the erosion that has taken place within the park over time.


Nature Trail


There is a moderately strenuous hike within the park that is about one mile ( 1.6 kilometers ) in length. What makes it a bit strenuous is that one is climbing much of the way up to the top of the ridge and of course back down while at an elevation of approximately 6,000 feet. This may seem like nothing to those who are acclimated to higher elevations and hiking...but for us lowlanders who are used to living near sea level, it does take some effort.


My mother and niece stayed at the bottom while I joined some people who were visiting from Germany on that hiking trail. At the top there is another 3/4 mile Rainbow Loop Trail that can be hiked.


Truthfully, the prettiest specimens of the petrified wood are at the bottom where everyone going to the park can easily see them. But for those of us who like to exercise and see more of the terrain, the specimens of petrified wood started showing up about half way up the trail where broken chunks of logs started appearing scattered here and there.


Old conifer trees cling to life at these altitudes and while not grown large or tall, supposedly they were in many cases quite antiquated.


Anasazi and Fremont Indians used to live in this area and the petrified wood was utilized by them for the making of tools.


Near the top of the ridge, one gets a good look at the surrounding landscape with the water below as shown by the picture at the top of this hub and another photo showing a balancing rock with the water far below.


Lichens growing on the rocks

Lichens growing on the rocks
Lichens growing on the rocks | Source

Lichens

The brochure for the nature trail had numbered spots along the way and explanations of what the hikers would be viewing at each point.






#5 explained Lichens.




This is what was written:

"The brilliantly colored plant on the rock face is actually two plants growing as one. This is an example of a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and an algae. One uses the other's by-products. The fungus protects the algae while the algae produces food for the fungus. They even reproduce together.


These tiny lichen may have been the first living organisms to exist on dry land. There are at least 16,000 different species. Some of the individual plant colonies could be thousands of years old."

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park photo with my mother

My mother waiting at the bottom of the trail sitting on a piece of petrified wood
My mother waiting at the bottom of the trail sitting on a piece of petrified wood | Source

While the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona has much more in the way of brilliantly colored petrified wood laying out in the open desert on display, this Escalante Petrified Forest State Park in Utah has other attributes which makes it enjoyable.

The topography with lakes, trees, trails and scenic wonders including other nearby State and National Parks makes it a worthwhile destination. Hopefully the pictures in this hub did it some justice.


Location of Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

A markerEscalante, Utah -
Escalante, UT, USA
[get directions]

Such beauty in and around Escalante, Utah!

Have you ever been to the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park?

  • Yes...I have camped there
  • Yes...we like the swimming, boating and fishing
  • Yes...we enjoy the hiking and scenery
  • All or some of the above
  • No...we just passed through on our way to the National Parks
  • Not yet but I would consider stopping after seeing what there is to offer
  • No and not interested
See results without voting

Wonder why people like hiking near Escalante? Watch this!

Much more about Utah from this author...

If you would like to see numerous photos, descriptions and videos showing other places in Utah which include the 5 national parks click here.

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Comments are welcomed. 22 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Ivona,

Nice that you got to see Bryce Canyon from a bird's eye view as we also did from a helicopter. We spent several weeks exploring various areas including all 5 national parks in Utah...so had time for seeing other things like this Escalante Petrified Forest which was on our way between the various locations. Actually...one could spend a week or more in each of the national parks. Utah is amazing! Thanks for your visit and comment.


Ivona Poyntz profile image

Ivona Poyntz 4 years ago from UK

I've been to Bryce canyon, which I loved (took the helicopter ride as well), but I didn't know about escalente: shame, I would have loved to see it. Great photos.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello natures47friend,

The petrified sand dunes were the first that we had seen also. Thanks for your comment on the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park in Utah. Utah is an absolute wonderland of wonderful sites!


natures47friend profile image

natures47friend 4 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.

Cool....petrified sand dunes...have never seen that till now on your hub. Thanks.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Kelly,

You certainly live in a beautiful part of the country. Thanks for your comment.


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