Escalante (pronounced /ɛskəlɑːnteɪ/; locally /ɛskɛlæni/ or /ɛskəlænt/) is a city in Garfield County, Utah, United States, along Utah Scenic Byway 12. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 818.
The town was named after Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, a Franciscan missionary and the first European explorer in the region. In 1776, Escalante and his Spanish superior Francisco Atanasio Domínguez left from Santa Fe, New Mexico on an attempt to reach Monterey, California (EarthMetrics,1989). During this journey, usually referred to as the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition, Escalante and his companions passed by the Grand Canyon and were among the first white men to enter Utah.
Members of the Southern Utah militia, under the leadership of Captain James Andrus, passed through the Escalante area during the Black Hawk Indian War of the mid-1860s. They recorded finding wild potatoes growing in the area and named a valley just east of the Escalante Mountains "Potato Valley". In 1872, a group of settlers from Panguitch investigated the area, meeting members of the John Wesley Powell expedition. Powell's group recommended any new community be named Escalante in honor of the explorer, even though the 1776 expedition never reached the remote valley. The community of Escalante was finally settled in 1875. The even more isolated community of Boulder to the north was established as a ranching community in 1889.