Grand Staircase and Escalante National Monument

5 Days - Escalante, UT
Sep 25 - Sep 29, 2022
Activity Level
Skill Level


Registration deadline: August 15, 2022

Pay a deposit of $500.00 per item

Backcountry adventure seekers, this workshop is for you!  Southern Utah’s Grand Staircase, situated in Escalante National Monument, boasts more than 3,000 square miles of sun-drenched backcountry, colorful sandstone cliffs, hoodoos, slick rock, narrow slot canyons, scenic washes, and ancient petroglyphs. But to see many of these fascinating locations you must lace up your hiking boots and traverse the trails and washes to find these hidden treasures.


Although considered more strenuous than some of our workshops, participants will reap the reward of their efforts. Participants should plan on extensive hikes to many of the destinations.  Awaiting your arrival at the end of the trails will be the spectacular sights of Hell’s Backbone, Hole-in-the-Rock Road, and the Burr Trail. Each twist and turn will reveal yet another unique canyon, plateau, or mountain vista. Photographer and instructor Laurence Parent has navigated this expansive wilderness region and knows the best photographic treasures in the area. Over the course of five days, Laurence will guide photographers on technique, composition, and settings in order to capture stunning images of this region.


We will spend time photographing Spooky Gulch as well as the unique hoodoos in Devils Garden and the flowing falls at Lower Calf Creek. And when not photographing canyons, slick rock, and waterfalls, we will head into the Dixie National Forest and photograph the possible early fall color of the aspens and sweeping vistas across the plateau. During the workshop, time will be spent reviewing photographic techniques and image reviews.

Workshop Includes:

  • Preworkshop webinar
  • Photographic instruction
  • Lodging based on single occupancy*
  • Round-trip transportation from Phoenix
  • Picnic lunch and dinner in the field, water, snacks, and a farewell dinner
  • All applicable entrance, park, and permit fees
  • Post-workshop critique


*Double occupancy permitted for couples and companions traveling together.  A discount will be provided.


Please be aware that the shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change. Each day we will determine which locations are best based on lighting conditions, in the hopes of giving you the best opportunities possible.


Day 1 – Sunday, September 25, 2022

  • Arrive in Escalante by mid afternoon. Check into the motel.
  • Photograph that evening at Devils Garden along Hole-in-the-Rock Road where there are arches and many hoodoos. Total hiking is around a ½ mile.
  • Dinner on own.

Day 2 – Monday, September 26, 2022

  • Early rise for a morning hike to Zebra Slot (about 5.2 miles RT on a relatively flat trail and desert wash), one of the most scenic slot canyons in the region. We will bring snacks to hold us over until we hike out. The entrance to Zebra Slot sometimes has a deep pool from recent rains.  If it’s impassible, we’ll go to an alternate destination
  • After our hike, we will stop for a late lunch and then back to the hotel for a bit of downtime for downloading images.
  • Laurence will host an image critique.
  • Late afternoon, we’ll head out again near Boulder where we’ll photograph the dramatic high ridge along Highway 12 at sunset.
  • Dinner on own.

Day 3 – Tuesday, September 27, 2022

  • Rise early to catch sunrise down along the Escalante River Canyon among the slick rock bluffs.
  • The remainder of our morning will be spent shooting Spooky Gulch, and the Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch.  This hike and scramble is about 3+ miles roundtrip through the two slot canyons.  Some parts of Spooky Gulch are very narrow.  Everyone should be able to do part of the slot canyon, but only people of small to medium build will be able to do it all.
  • If time and group abilities allow, we may also attempt to do Peek-a-Boo Canyon
  • Along the way, we will stop and enjoy our picnic lunch.
  • Mid-afternoon we will drive to Fortymile Ridge Road to the Sunset Arch trailhead where we will hike, an easy three miles round trip, to the arch for sunset photos.
  • Alternately, if the group prefers a lighter excursion for sunset we will return to Devils Garden for Sunset.
  • Dinner.

Day 4 – Wednesday, September 28, 2022

  • Pending how late our previous night’s excursion goes, we will either catch sunrise against the dramatic bluffs of the Escalante River Canyon or skip for a leisurely morning.
  • Mid-morning we will embark on a relatively easy 6 mile RT hike to photograph Lower Calf Creek Falls before returning to town for lunch.
  • Early afternoon we will head out into the Dixie National Forest on Pine Canyon Road to Posy Lake.
  • Then it is on to Hells Backbone for sunset photos.
  • Final group dinner.

Day 5 – Thursday, September 29, 2022

  • Our final sunrise will take us to slick rock bluffs and a very easy slot canyon along the Burr Trail.
  • Return to the motel. Checkout.
  • The workshop adjourns by noon and we will depart for Phoenix arriving late evening.

Strenuous Rating: Moderate to Difficult.
Participants must be in good physical condition. During this workshop, we will hike approximately 18 miles over five days, with one hike of about 6 miles roundtrip.  You must be able to hike, carrying your own gear and water, through desert washes, and be capable of some light rock scrambling. Most hikes will involve only minor elevation changes, but three will require several hundred feet of mostly gradual elevation gain. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended.

The Workshop will Depart from / Return to:


Holiday Inn & Suites

3220 S. 48th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85040
Phone: (480) 543-1700

Pre-night and post-night rooms are available for workshop participants at our corporate rate. Participants are required to make their own reservations and pay for these dates. The corporate rate is only available on a space-available status and must be booked online. The corporate rate is not available by phone.


Lodging During the Workshop:

Circle D Motel
475 W Main St.
Escalante, UT 84726
Phone: (435) 826-4297

The workshop begins at the Circle D Motel in Escalante. Four nights of lodging based on single occupancy is included in your workshop fee.   The Circle D Motel is minimal, yet clean and comfortable.

Laurence Parent
Rick Sprain
Photo Guide
There are a number of reputable companies that provide Travel Insurance.  For your convenience, we offer travel protection through TravelEx Insurance Services.  For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go or contact TravelEx Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20



Should you find it necessary to cancel your workshop, the following cancellation policy applies – NO EXCEPTIONS.

  • 91 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
  • 90 days full payment is due
  • 61-90 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less $100 administrative fee.  The voucher is good for 18 months.
  • * 60 days or less until departure – No refund.

* If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less $100 administrative fee.


NOTE:  Workshop bookings including, but not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging and more are requiring firm financial commitments at 90 days.  Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can sometimes be unavoidable which is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.


Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel any workshop if our minimum student enrollment is not met. In the event AHPS cancels a workshop, participants will be given the option to reschedule to a later date or receive a full refund for the workshop components booked directly with AHPS.  Please Note: we are not liable for the additional expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations, or any other components booked outside of the workshop.


PAYMENT TERMS:  A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space.  Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit.  Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure.  Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due.