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Ranchito Feliz, Utah
In the middle of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument; adjacent to Bryce Canyon National Park; within walking distance of Kodachrome Basin State Park; and an easy drive to Zion and Read more...
In the middle of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument; adjacent to Bryce Canyon National Park; within walking distance of Kodachrome Basin State Park; and an easy drive to Zion and Capital Reef National Parks, as well as Lake Powell National Recreational Area, this unique site is an opportunity not to miss. The pet/horse friendly property (approximately 9 acres/3 ha/64 sq. m) boasts three private designated single tent sites, one group tent site, two car camping sites, and one RV site as well as paleontological, geological, biological, astronomical, and historical interests of the ranch. The equestrians will find a two-acre pasture, three paddocks, a round pen, as well as beautiful places to ride from the ranch.
This secluded location has a small town of about 75 (Cannonville) three miles/5 k distant where there is a small store, gas, and a Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center. And, bonus, the campground has potable water, a place to wash dishes or clean fish, high speed internet, and cell phone service. The ranch is an off the grid, passive/active solar voltaic, so no electricity.
The views are spectacular from any site where the xeroscaped landscape uses indigenous material and plants to complement the quintessential Pinon/Juniper ecosystem the campground sits in. On three sides you are surrounded by red cliffs in the Carmel Formation which can give shelter from wind and sun, but campers can also look out over the Paria River (you can hear the river from camp as well as its amphibians) which runs south in front of the property and eventually meets the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry where most put-in to raft the Grand Canyon. Looking north, one sees the meaning of the term “Grand Staircase” by viewing The Entrada, Tropic Shale, Straight Cliffs, Wahweap, Kaiparowits, and Pink Limestone Formations capped by late Tertiary Volcanism; or, the “steps” of Promise Rock, Sand Point, Powell Point, and the Aquarius Plateau (highest forested mesa in North America at over eleven thousand feet.).
The biological diversity here is also astounding:
Birds: 140 species and counting including the tiny Costa’s Humming Bird all the way up to the enormous California Condor.
Plants: 2 species of Sagebrush, 4 species of trees, numerous grass species, and a plethora of beautiful wildflowers and cacti.
Reptiles: Many species of snakes and lizards. Unfortunately, this includes the occasional rattlesnake. It is advised that you have your pets vaccinated.
Amphibian: Toads and Salamanders
Insects: There are very few mosquitos. There are a few biting Deer Flies, and worse yet, those damn gnats. These “no-see-ums” are temperature dependent so are not a bother in the shade, early mornings, late evenings and at night. It is recommended that you bring some kick ass insect repellant and a “bee hat” if you are out and about in the sun during the day between May and July.
Fossils: Bivalves, snails, petrified wood (many types) and various other corals, insects and plant fossils abound and are often incorporated into the ranch infrastructure. The nearby area is considered the hottest paleontological spot on the planet.
Astronomy: The area is widely considered to be under the darkest skies in the lower 49. The Milky Way and Persieds are common sights without the unsightly annoyance of any neighbor’s lights.
The climate is varied and interesting. All four seasons are here and occasionally all in one day. Winter snows melt quickly though temperatures can dip into the sub-zeros. The 5,900 ft./1800 m. elevation keeps the summer temps reasonable and always gives a chilly summer evening to cool things off. If you want climatic extremes, you can, within an hour or so, be at Lake Powell and its 100+ F/38+ C heat or on the Aquarius Plateau at 65 degrees F/18 C in midday June.
Recreation on many levels is all within proximity. From canyoneering, “free” climbing on an established nearby crag composed of a welded tuft capping the Aquarius Plateau (see Mountain Project and “The Aquarius Plateau”) and many aid lines on Entrada Formation towers within walking distance (see Mountain Project and “The Grand Staircase”), water sports of Lake Powell and the Colorado River as well as fishing in the cool temps of Pine Lake 35 minutes distant. Then of course, there is the Monument, National Park and the State Park only a short drive away.
Seclusion, security, water, and views all within a short walk or drive of exiting destinations, make this worth the stop.