There’s never been a better time to upgrade a southern Utah road trip. Along Route 89, after the masses of Lake Powell give way to the calm gravity of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, there is a stretch of highway flanked by stacked sandstone formations. They seem impenetrable at first, but a number of prints suggest otherwise. Many of the roads lead to scattered campsites. Others lead to stunning new tented accommodations.
The newest outpost comes from glamping operator Under Canvas. Known for finding picture-perfect spots near national parks, the company outdid itself with this one that opened in April (starting at $ 299). The camp’s 50 safari-style tents are located on a canyon rim plateau overlooking the adjacent monument and the azure waters of Lake Powell and extend over 220 acres. There’s yoga, hiking and paddling, tours of the lake by raft or kayak, and other adventures.
Travel five miles south to Camp Sarika, a new offshoot of the nearby Amangiri resort that has been the epitome of desert luxury since it opened in 2009. Guests have the option to stay in one of ten canvas-clad pavilions, which include a living room and one or two bedrooms, and open onto a sprawling deck, plunge pool, and fire pit (from $ 3,500). With 600 acres of mesas, sandstone formations, and slot gorges, the property feels less like a hotel and more like a personal playground. From riding on mountain ridges to yoga sessions in amphitheatres with natural rocks to a guided via ferrata hike on steep faces and over abysses, there is a lot to do without venturing far.
(Photo: Courtesy of Aman)
A two hour drive away, 18 miles west of the southern entrance to Zion National Park, is Open Sky. The 80-acre site, which opened in March, only has three high-end tents, so you feel like you have the space to yourself. The largest for four people has a bathtub. Each is either tucked into a rocky cove for privacy or on an edge that offers breathtakingly scenic views (from $ 439).
Main Photo: Courtesy of Aman