Rain’s Coming, Let’s Head South

Words and Photos by ML Ambassador:: Corry Bondini

Take a Fall Trip to Utah

Shoulder season is among us which means that hiking season is coming to an end, while skiing season hasn’t begun. If you are anything like me, now is the time of year where you start thinking outside of the box to get your much-needed dose of the outdoors. An excellent option to fill your fall with adventure is a trip down south to Utah.


Corry Bondini Looking over Reflection Canyon in Utah
Looking over Reflection Canyon. Photo by Greg Hall


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Getting There:

Getting to Utah is quick, easy and usually pretty cheap. Flying to Las Vegas is my favourite option because as soon as you arrive you can pick up a rental car and be on the road for an epic adventure.


Airline map of all flights into Las Vegas
If it’s desert fun or gambling mania you want, all flights lead to Vegas.


On the Road:

Escalante, Utah is a hiking hub which offers the opportunity for exploration in every direction and is significantly quieter and slower paced than Utah’s National Parks. The drive from Las Vegas to Escalante is a quick five hours but many scenic stops can be made along the way. I recommend stopping at the Valley of Fire State Park while you are still in Nevada and check out the impressive rock formations on one of the several hikes. When you arrive in Escalante there are plenty of hotel and camping accommodation options to choose from.


Corry Bondini hiking along slickrock in Fire State Park in Utah
Hiking in the Valley of Fire State Park.


Corry Bondini standing in a massive red sandrock cavern in Cathedral Gorge
Standing in the impressive Cathedral Gorge.


Drive and Hike the Hole in the Rock Road:
Head south of Escalante and drive down the Hole in the Rock Road. Make sure that your car is suited for this rugged road! If you do a bit of research you will find that there are tons of hiking trails to be enjoyed just off of this road that wander through slot canyons, impressive rock formations, and even to the stunning Reflection Canyon. Free camping is allowed on this road which you may wish to take advantage of to fully explore this area.


Explore a Waterfall:

Utah still stays very hot throughout the fall so cool off with a hike to the Lower Calf Creek Falls. The trail meanders next to a river and through trees so it stays cooler than some of the more exposed trails. Once I arrived at this waterfall I could have stared at it for hours as it shifted and changed over the surface of the rock.


Corry Bondini and friend checking out Lower Calf Creek Falls
Checking out Lower Calf Creek Falls.


Cool Off in Some Swimming Holes:

The Escalante River boasts some pretty impressive swimming holes. Check the river out for a day hike or a backpack. Hiking in the river is a pretty unique experience. Hard soled light hikers and hiking poles are recommended to help steady yourself through the water.


Corry Bondini Diving into a swimming hole on the Escalante River, Utah.
Diving into one of the many swimming holes along the Escalante River.


Utah is a very impressive state with so many places to explore. The Escalante area is just one small section of the state. Once you go to Utah once you will realize just how much there is to explore and the list of must-do hikes will keep growing and growing!

Writer: Corry Bondini

Instagram: @hikingcorry