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Excursions of Escalante offers guided day and overnight trips in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the nearby national forest. If you discover that you don't have everything you need for your forays into this extremely rugged land, stop in at Escalante Outfitters, 310 W. Main St. (Utah 12), Escalante (tel. 435/826-4266; www.escalanteoutfitters.com), which has an excellent stock of outdoor clothing and gear.

But the great outdoors isn't the only reason to visit Escalante. Art lovers should schedule their visits for early October, when Escalante and nearby communities join to sponsor the Everett Ruess Days Working Arts Festival, with demonstrations, workshops, contests, exhibits, talks, music, and more. Subjects range from painting to pottery, plus quilting, ceramics, tie-dying, cowboy poetry -- you name it.

The festival is named for Everett Ruess, a young artist who disappeared in the rugged canyon country near here in November 1934, and was never seen again. For additional information on the festival, contact the chamber of commerce , or check out the festival website, www.everettruessdays.org.

As a small town, Escalante has a surprising number of galleries and working artists. Pick up a free copy of the brochure Escalante Arts & Crafts Guide, which includes a map, at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center. If you happen to be in town on the first Friday of the month, check at the visitor center or with one of the galleries on Main Street about the First Friday Art Walk, which includes stops at five galleries, several of which serve free refreshments. The exact times may vary with the season, but the walks take place in the evening of the first Friday of each month, and you can start at any of the participating galleries. Participation is free and no reservations are needed.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.