Originally called Potato Valley, this community's name was changed in the 19th century to honor Spanish explorer and missionary Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante. However, it's believed Escalante never actually visited this particular part of southern Utah on his trek from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to California, a hundred years earlier. Home to nearly 100 historic buildings (a free walking-tour map is available at the information booth and at local businesses), Escalante is your best bet for lodging, food, and supplies as you travel Utah 12. At 5,868 feet elevation, it's also a good base for exploring the nearby mountains and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, or for finally taking a hot shower after a week of backpacking. Be aware, though, that services in this town of 800 are limited in winter.
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