IS MORE THAN JUST A BED & A SHOWER, IT’S AN EXPERIENCE UNLIKE ANY OTHER!
THE HEART OF THE GRAND STAIRCASE-ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT
Jan and Scott Roundy are the owners of Escalante Yurts located just 1½ miles north of the beautiful little town of Escalante, Utah. The town is situated on scenic byway 12 in the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Escalante Yurts is sandwiched between Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park. Construction began in May of 2016, and our first guests arrived in April of 2017. Since then, we have met people from nearly every state in the Union, and we have lost count of the number of foreign countries. But first, a little background – well, a lot of background!
Our story really starts in 1886 when Scott’s great-grandfather Napoleon Bonaparte Roundy (yes, that’s his real name!) brought his two wives Elizabeth and Louisa (yes, you also read THAT correctly!), and their 8 children to Escalante. Napoleon also brought with him a large herd of sheep and began ranching. After arriving in Escalante, 7 MORE children joined their family, for a total of 15! Napoleon’s brick house still stands at the top of “Roundy” hill on the east side of the street as you drive out to Escalante Yurts. It has a sign on the gate proclaiming it to be “The Napoleon Pioneer Home” and is still occupied today.
Born in 1888, Scott’s grandfather Wallace Napoleon Roundy was the 9th child, and the first child of those 7 born in Escalante. Wallace eventually took over the ranching operations and immediately sold all the sheep and bought cattle. Wallace grew tired of the constant tending that sheep required and reasoned that cattle would be able to tend themselves to an extent, and also be more profitable. In 1909 Wallace married Ella Mae Griffin and together they had 8 children. The last child born to them was Jerry Coy Roundy, Scott’s father.
After serving in the Korean Conflict on an aircraft carrier, Jerry was ready to come back home and settle down on the ranch and take over for Wallace. But Wallace had other plans for Jerry. He eventually convinced Jerry that ranching can be a hard life, and that Jerry didn’t want to be 80 years old and still have to saddle a horse and ride the range all day. I’m sure there were other considerations, but Wallace convinced his youngest son to get an education. Jerry did just that, becoming a college professor. He and his wife Colleen had 4 children – 3 girls and one boy. Colleen passed away and he eventually married Sherree Spencer. Sherree was born and raised in Escalante and they had known each other as children.
Jerry eventually retired and he and Sherree decided to go back “home” to Escalante. They purchased 30 acres and built a house big enough for his 4 children and her 3 children and their families to come visit. As time passed and Jerry got older, he dropped hints to Scott from time to time that he would like the home and the property to stay in the family.
Enter Scott. He was raised in what used to be a small town called Rexburg, Idaho. While in high school, he met and fell in love with Jan. They married and moved to Utah to attend University. They eventually welcomed a girl and then a boy into their family. Scott graduated with an accounting degree and did whatever he could to NOT work as an accountant. He bought a landscaping business and they settled in northern Utah. There was a period of about 8 years where Scott worked as an accountant, but then went back to landscaping. He also spent 20 years at Deer Valley Ski Resort as a snowcat driver during the winter seasons. Jan worked as an office manager for a busy orthodontist in Park City, Utah. Scott and Jan lived in a beautiful part of the world and enjoyed their careers and raising their children. They had no reason to change anything. With their children grown, they began to settle into life being empty nesters. But then Scott’s dad Jerry would drop a hint now and then about Scott buying the house in order to keep it in the family. Scott and Jan never imagined the changes that were coming their way.
One weekend in 2015 they were visiting Jerry and Sherree in Escalante, and the subject of Scott buying the house came up. Not being in a position to buy a second home, Scott assured his dad that someone would buy the house and do something really fun with the house and the property. On the ride home, Scott said to Jan, “What if it was us? It should be us that does something fun with it.” The rest of the car ride home was spent speculating what we might do, if we would like to do it, how we would pull it off. Could we pull it off? Certain that we would get a “no” from the bank or the county or some other entity, we could say that we gave it a try and it didn’t work. Then we could go back to our lives and not worry about it again.
Obviously, everyone gave us a “yes”! The county thought it was a great idea! The City of Escalante allowed us to purchase a water meter and connect to city water! And most importantly, the bank said yes! I mean, why wouldn’t the bank loan money for a hotel to two people who have never worked in the hospitality industry! That brings us back to the beginning of the story. We sold our home and moved to Escalante. Construction began, and we have never worked harder, and never been happier!
The creation of Escalante Yurts was definitely a family affair. Without the help of our children and extended family we wouldn’t have been able to do it. While Scott may have the family history in Escalante, Jan is the one who makes the magic happen at Escalante Yurts! You can see her touches everywhere. She, along with our children, is responsible for decorating each of the yurts. She carefully selected everything from the beds down to the soap dishes. She makes sure your experience with us is positive from the moment you make your reservation to the moment you leave. If you take a few minutes to read our reviews, you’ll notice how many include Jan’s name.
What was initially a lot of hard work eventually turned into a labor of love. We have put our heart and soul into Escalante Yurts. We love it here, and we hope you find some rest from your busy lives when you visit. Consider it your home away from home! It’s our “happy place”, so why not make it yours?
Escalante Yurts, is in the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, sits just off Scenic Byway 12 between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks. More than just a bed and a shower, Escalante Yurts is an experience like no other! After a day of hiking and sightseeing, come back to your luxurious yurt and pamper yourself. Comfortable king and queen beds await, as well as your own private bathroom and shower. Breakfast is provided daily in the privacy of your own yurt. Enjoy the evening with your own outdoor seating, or make s’mores at one of the fire pits. And star-gazing is mandatory!
Escalante Yurts provides a unique and memorable lodging experience unlike any other. Surround yourself with peace and solitude in the beauty of nature nestled in the trees and hollows of beautiful red rock country.
Located along Scenic Byway 12 (voted the second most beautiful scenic byway in the WORLD) Escalante Yurts is the perfect base for your adventures in red rock country! Just 45 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park and 90 minutes from Capitol Reef National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is at your fingertips. A short drive gives you access to such places as Calf Creek Falls, Spooky and Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyons, Devil’s Garden, and Hell’s Backbone Bridge, to name a few. Whether you are an avid hiker or simply want to enjoy the sites from your car, Escalante Yurts can help you plan your ideal vacation.
We promise you, that once you stay with us, you’ll want to come back!
Whether you are an avid hiker or simply want to enjoy the sites from your car,
Escalante Yurts can help you plan your ideal vacation.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT US
“Absolutely beautiful accommodation in a truly stunning part o of the world. My partner and I had to make several last-minute changes to our reservation, and the owners were so flexible and understanding. Our only regret is that we couldn’t spend more time here!”
“This place is fantastic — a bonafide unexpected wonder. We booked it on a lark for one night while on a trip through Utah and were blown away by the luxurious comforts and amazing vibe. Owners Jan and Scott are not only super nice but also have great tips for the nearby area. The yurts absolutely put the glam in glamping. Highly recommended!”
“Really incredible experience. Jan, the owner, was super nice and hospitable. The yurt was insanely luxurious and tastefully decorated. Makes you forget that you are tucked away in the middle of the desert. Bed was super comfortable and the shower/bathroom situation blew my mind. Glamping at its finest!”