Over 2 Million Acres Waiting to Be Explored.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

A staircase of cliffs that has been growing for millions of years.

8,600 Feet
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Escalante, Utah is a spectacular natural wonder located in the southwestern United States. It spans an area of 1.9 million acres and contains some of the most breathtaking landscapes in North America. The monument consists of three distinct regions – Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits Plateau, and Escalante Canyons.

The dramatic landscapes of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument provide a mesmerizing backdrop for visitors to explore on foot, horseback, or by four-wheel drive vehicles. The monument features several popular hiking trails including the Escalante River Trail, which passes through sheer red cliffs and deep canyons, and the Grand Staircase Loop Trail which meanders through hoodoos, slot canyons, and plateaus. The monument also has several designated four-wheel drive roads including the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail that winds through spectacular scenery on its way to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a beautiful outdoor destination that offers visitors the chance to explore some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the United States. The area features breathtaking red cliffs, rugged canyons, towering spires, and lush desert grasslands. The region is especially known for its spectacular wildflower displays during the spring and summer seasons, which include a variety of blooms including Indian Paintbrush, bluebells, and yucca.


The Grand Staircase region is the westernmost of these regions and features a dramatic sequence of colorful cliffs, plateaus, mesas, and buttes. It covers an area of nearly one million acres and includes the popular tourist destination – Bryce Canyon National Park. The Kaiparowits Plateau is situated in the center of the monument and consists of steeply eroded canyons, rain-fed streams, and rolling plateaus. This area is particularly renowned for its fossils, including dinosaur remains dating back to the Cretaceous Period. The Escalante Canyons region lies in the easternmost part of the monument and encompasses a network of winding canyons and sandstone cliffs. This area is especially renowned for its sprawling desert vistas, slot canyons, and riparian areas along the Escalante River.

Pink Cliffs - Same Tertiary limestone as Bryce Canyon. 

Gray Cliffs - Sandstone and shale. 

White Cliffs - White Navajo sandstone. 

Vermilion Cliffs - Rich red color.

Chocolate Cliffs - The oldest.


Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Escalante, Utah has a rich history stretching back thousands of years. Early Native American tribes such as the Anasazi, Fremont, and Paiute inhabited the region long before European settlers arrived. The first recorded exploration of the area was by Spanish missionaries in 1776, who named it Escalante after Franciscan priest Silvestre Valez de Escalante. In 1872, John Wesley Powell explored the canyons of the Colorado Plateau, including the Escalante River. In 1996, President Bill Clinton established the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as part of his “American Legacy” initiative to permanently protect these spectacular landscapes.

Today, the monument is managed by a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Utah. Visitors to the region can experience a variety of activities including camping, hiking, horseback riding, and backpacking. There are also excellent opportunities for wildlife watching in the area, with mule deer, coyote, cougars, golden eagles and bighorn sheep among some of the species that call Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument home.
Photo gallery


The combination of diverse geology and vibrant wildlife of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument makes it a remarkable destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The area is home to an array of wildlife species including bighorn sheep, mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. Birdwatchers can also spot raptors such as golden eagles and American kestrels. Reptiles and amphibians such as lizards, snakes, and frogs also inhabit the area. The monument also serves as a critical habitat for the threatened Colorado pikeminnow and razorback suckerfish.


The best time to visit Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is during the spring and fall months when temperatures are milder. The monument has a variety of camping locations for visitors looking to stay overnight, although some areas may require advance reservations. Hikers should be prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and other supplies as the area can be extremely dry and hot.

Above all, visitors should respect the monument’s fragile environment and leave no trace of their presence behind. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is an incredible place to explore and experience some of Utah’s most magnificent natural wonders. With a little bit of planning, visitors can have a safe and enjoyable trip to this special part of the world.


Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument offers a variety of camping options. Some campgrounds are first come, first serve while others require reservations. Campers should also be aware that the area can get quite hot during the summer months and there will be limited shade available in some areas. If visitors want a more luxurious stay, the towns of Escalante, Utah, Cannonville, Utah and Boulder, Utah have plenty of hotels and motels for you and your group to choose from.


The towns of Escalante, Utah, Cannonville, Utah and Boulder, Utah offer a variety of restaurants. Here visitors can find anything from Mexican to Italian food. For those looking for more casual dining options, there are several cafes and coffee shops in the area to choose from. There are also over half a dozen convenience stores around the monument where visitors can purchase snacks and other supplies.


Entrance to the monument is free and there are overnight permits that are required for backpacking and car camping. 


The monument is pet-friendly, but visitors should be aware that some areas may have restrictions on pets. It is also important to keep your pet on a leash and clean up after them. Pets are not allowed on specific trails and backcountry areas within the monument boundaries, so be sure to check ahead of time with park officials.

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