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This Southern Utah Glamping Spot Is the Perfect Mix of Rustic and Glamourous

Abby Hepworth

Much like “sustainable fashion” or “toxic”, the word “glamping” has lost a bit of meaning since its introduction into the zeitgeist back in 2005. It was originally meant to convey the idea of mixing glamorous hotel accommodations with the outdoorsy appeal of true camping, but now it’s often just slapped onto any room for rent that’s vaguely near nature. Yonder Escalante, however, is a true return to the essence of the term with a unique charm that feels genuine and true to its promise of a rustically glamorous vacation.

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A series of A-frame cabins at the Yonder Escalante resort during sunset
Abby Hepworth

The Basics

Name of accommodation: Yonder Escalante
Location: Escalante, Utah
Price: from $69 per campsite, per night
Accommodation options: campsites, RV sites, cabins and Airstreams

A series of aristreams at the Yonder Escalante resort in Utah
Abby Hepworth

The Details

The Accommodations

Yonder Escalante’s slogan is “Adventure for All,” a sentiment reflected in the various rooming options. For those looking to lean more into the glamour side of things, there are retrofitted vintage Airstreams and minimalist cabins, each with comfy queen-size beds and their own fire pit. (The Airstreams also have a sofa bed, making them a better option for families of three or four, though four adults would be a very tight fit.) On the more camping-heavy end of the spectrum, you’ll find luxe RV sites for those driving their own RVs, as well as car campsites where you can pitch your own a tent. Those also each come with their own firepit.

No matter where you stay, everyone has access to all the amenities, including an outdoor pool and hot tub, spa-inspired bathhouses with private showers, high-quality hair and skin products and functional plumping (aka, no outhouses or Port-a-Potties). There is also a chic, covered lodge with gas fire pits, couches and tables where folks can gather to play board games or read a good book. Oh, and did we mention the drive-in movie theater? More on that in a bit.

A trio of images depicting a food truck, an outdoor shower and a drive-in movie theater
Abby Hepworth

The Food

There are a surprising number of food options available on site, including a food truck and General Store. The food truck serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for purchase (including kids’ meals and drinks) and the lodge has free coffee, tea, fruit and cereal treats available each morning. The General Store has snacks galore, as well as drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), but the real winners are the meal kits which have everything you need to cook a truly delicious dinner over your personal fire pit. Seriously, the sweet potatoes are not to be missed. Yonder Escalante is also just a three-minute drive from the town of Escalante, which has a variety of restaurants and grocery stores.

The Amenities

We touched on the luxe bathhouse accommodations, communal lodge and swimming pool, and we do want to expound on some details, but really, we’re most excited to talk about the drive-in movie theater. Every night, Yonder Escalante has a showing of a classic film (weekends are typically family-friendly favorites, while the rest of the week features everything from spaghetti westerns to ‘80s rom-coms) on its open-air big screen. There are eight vintage cars guests can book, each fitted with retro radios, or you can post up on the bleachers or in a folding chair with a hand radio. And of course, no movie would be complete without treats, so be sure to swing by the snack station for popcorn, glass bottle cola and candy before you settle in.

Another highlight is the bathhouses. Neither the Airstreams nor the cabins have their own facilities (though the trailers do have sinks with running water)—this is “camping” after all—but the bathhouses are way better than any campground options you’re used to. They have fully functional plumbing and a Scandinavian spa vibe that’s amplified by the open-air showers. And in case you forgot toiletries, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair dryers, tampons, towels and more are available. P.S. There are low lights along the paths to help guide your way should you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, and Yonder is planning to build some cabins with bathrooms soon and at future locations.

Last, but not least, there are also washers and dryers on site with detergent available for purchase at the general store.

An overheat shot of a clear blue pool at the resort Yonder Escalante
Courtesy of Yonder Escalante

What to Pack

Depending on the time of year, afternoons can get pretty warm, so be sure to pack some breezy shorts, T-shirts and tank tops to wear during the day. Of course, the main attraction is definitely hiking/outdoor exploration, so hiking boots or sneakers with good traction are key (as is sunscreen!). For the evening, be sure to pack some warmer pieces you can layer over top, as temperatures tend to drop once the sun’s gone down. And don’t forget a swimsuit so you cool off with a dip in the pool or a relaxing soak in the hot tub. As for camping gear, if you’re pitching a tent, you’ll want a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad and warm clothes in case it gets extra cold at night.

Not to Be Missed

The lands surrounding Yonder Escalante have a fascinating history as a National Monument. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about nearby must-sees, so be sure to chat up the folks at the front desk for the best current trails, hidden gems and other local tips.

A view of airstreams in the Utah dessert at sunset
Abby Hepworth

Know Before You Go

Yonder Escalante is open from roughly mid-March through November but closes for the winter. The area gets quite a bit of snow and, per the employees, there isn’t actually all that much to do in the area once temperatures drop. We recommend going either in early summer or early fall to make the most of the beautiful weather. Also, if you fly—closest major airports are in Las Vegas or Phoenix—you can probably expect to drive at least five hours to get to the resort. That said, the drive is pretty incredible, and we highly recommend taking your time, allowing for sightseeing stops along the way.