Grand in the Canyon

Under Canvas’s new location in Lake Powell – Grand Staircase will have you outward bound this summer.

Written by Jenn Thornton

Did someone say wild West? With its latest location in Lake Powell – Grand Staircase, outdoor hospitality brand Under Canvas is offering a tamer version of the West—the American Southwest, specifically—but with a hefty dose of adventure that this stunning landscape affords. And a pretty cool place to bunk at the end of each day, too. (Or, if paralyzed by the views that embrace you from all sides, then during it.) With this newly debuted destination—along with a second summer opening near Acadia National Park—the number of Under Canvas camps now total nine, with more in the works. This includes a location in Catalina Island, a favorite stomping ground of John Wayne himself. When Duke wasn’t donning boots as an America’s cowboy in a big-screen epic, he hung his hat in the Golden State, where Catalina was one of his go-to destinations.

Nowhere do you feel more like Duke, though, than in Lake Powell-Grand Staircase. If not the main man himself, than an extra in one of his films, perhaps the character who ambles off the beaten path and finds herself drunk on the beauty of the location—a Canyon Rim Plateau with its own on-site slot canyon and views as far as the eye can see (and way beyond that). It’s rugged country, all red rocks and endless heavens, the gateway to a mind-boggling number of attractions, from Antelope Canyon and Lone Rock Beach at Lake Powell, to Horseshoe Bend and Grosvenor Arch, all part and parcel of a bona fide natural wonderland. Just throw open the flaps to your tent and step outside.

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Speaking of, ahem, tents. “Canvas” is a relative term. Yes, the camp is populated with canvas tents, but these shelters are more safari style than, say, your back-in-the-day campground variety. A good thing. Lest one think that the main lobby tent, which is fashioned by West Elm in a complementary Lake Powell – Grand Staircase aesthetic, is a one-off, please acquaint yourself with the typical Under Canvas accommodation: “en-suite” bathrooms, private decks, and wood-burning stoves. Also, go ahead and stow that sleeping bag. Plush king-size beds and luxe linens are standard. And yes, city slickers, USB charging packs and bedside “lanterns” render Eagle Scout skills unnecessary. (Scouts honor.)

If seeking a merit badge in exploration, though, this is definitely the place. The adventure programming at Lake Powell – Grand Staircase is, in Under Canvas tradition, absolutely Wayne-worthy. For starters, how many mesas can a person scale? Turns out, about the same number of rocks you can canyoneer. And rapids you can kayak. And lake waters you can swim. And sunsets you can chase. And sites you can Instagram.

This, plus all that’s going on back in Under Canvas campland. (Spoiler: more than you have going on at home where, let’s face it, the backyard staycation is really getting old.) For you folks, the upgrades and experiential enhancements at Under Canvas outposts near and far include an upending of the fireside chat, courtesy of outdoor “social spaces,” and a locally sourced food and drink menu that, for those of you still clinging life and limb to your Coleman Stove, forsakes the hot dogs over an open-fire routine. Forget sending the troops off to collect sticks; pick up a fork and dig into some regionally-inspired grub. There may be bison at Under Canvas Yellowstone and lobster at Under Canvas Acadia, but Lake Powell – Grand Staircase is not exactly bringing up the rear with its Southwest Chopped Salad, Pan Roasted Trout and Tavern-Style Pot Roast. Get you a craft brew? You’re welcome.

Niceties aside (including espresso!), Lake Powell – Grand Staircase keeps with the Under Canvas MO of connecting guests to America’s natural treasures. Her national parks, monuments and holy-cow country. John Wayne knew this territory well, having shot many movies in the area. But all respect to Duke, Lake Powell – Grand Staircase is the star of this show.

Photograph courtesy of Bailey Made

Photograph courtesy of Bailey Made

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Photographs courtesy of Travis Burke (except where noted)