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.