Overview Grand Staircase Escalante

The Grand Staircase refers to an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. This huge area rises in broad, tilted terraces and was declared a National Monument during the Clinton administration in 1996.

With approximately 7,600 km2  it is the largest US National Monument and stretches from the towns of Big Water, Glendale and Kanab, Utah in the Southwest, to the towns of Escalante and Boulder in the Northeast. There are three main regions: the Grand Staircase, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Canyons of the Escalante.

The Grand Staircase refers to an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. The region is conceptualized as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps.Roughly triangular in shape, the Kaiparowits Plateau extends for over 50 miles from near the town of Escalante to the south and southwest nearly to the border with Arizona. At its southeastern end the plateau rises from Lake Powell nearly 4000 feet to an elevation of 7584 feet. The Canyons of the Escalante is a collective name for the erosional landforms created by the Escalante River and its tributaries. Highlights along the Hole-in-the-Rock road include the slot canyons of Peekaboo, Spooky and Brimstone Canyons, Bull Valley Gorge, Willis Creek, Lick Wash and the backpacking areas of lower Coyote Gulch and of Harris Wash.

Because of it's size there are four visitor centers located in Cannonville, Big Water, Escalante, and Kanab.

Points of Interest

Calf Creek 13

Calf Creek & Calf Creek Falls

Those falls are one of the hidden gems of the Grand Staircase Escalante area, much like a little oasis amid the sandstone cliffs of the desert. Depening on which trail you are choosing, you are either walking between mineral-streaked cliffs of Navajo sandstone or descending down a huge sandstone bluff into the creek below.

Devils Garden 18

Devils Garden

Not to be confused with the other area of that name in Arches National Park, this area is area is located along the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail and contains some of the area’s most recognizable rock formations.

Dry Fork  of Coyote Gulch 06

Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch

Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch is one of the most visited canyons of the Escalante, it is also the entrance to three other exciting slot canyons, Peekaboo, Spooky and Brimstone Gulch.

 

Directions

There are various options, in the south via route 89 (Kanab, Big water, Page) and in the north via route 12 (Torrey, Boulder, Escalante, Cannonville, Tropic).

The most important roads in the monument are the Cottonwood Canyon Road (37.104856,-111.846921) connecting route 89 in the south with route 12 in the north and Hole In the Rock Trail (37.724293,-111.527052) which runs for 180 miles from the vicinity of Escalante, Utah to Bluff, Utah and is named for the place where the San Juan Mission of Mormon Pioneers constructed a descent to the Colorado River. Be prepared that this is a real wilderness, there are no services within the whole area, only at the edges in Boulder, Escalante, Kanab, Big Water, etc. We strongly recommend a 4-wheel drive, bring enough food and water and if you don't like to hike and backpack, don't go there :)

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