Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Quick Facts

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Utah

(435) 644-1200

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument's vast and austere landscape embraces a spectacular array of scientific and historic resources. This high, rugged, and remote region, where bold plateaus and multi-hued cliffs run for distances that defy human perspective, was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped.

Even today, this unspoiled natural area remains a frontier, a quality that greatly enhances the Monument's value for scientific study. The Monument has a long and dignified human history: it is a place where one can see how nature shapes human endeavors in the American West, where distance and aridity have pitted against your dreams and courage.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument spans nearly 1.9 million acres of America's public lands. From its spectacular Grand Staircase of cliffs and terraces, across the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau, to the wonders of the Escalante River Canyons, the Monument's size, resources, and remote character provide extraordinary opportunities for geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, historians, and biologists in scientific research, education, and exploration.

Map of Grand Staircase-Escalante

Latitude, Longitude: 37.384344, -111.678772

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    The Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument covers 1.9 million acres of public lands in southern Utah, with several hundred miles of roads. Many routes are ideal for family or group trips that are vehicle-supported. Mountain biking is a refreshing way to experience the variety of landscapes the Monument has to offer.

    These lands are rugged and primitive, appealing to those looking for an adventure. Remoteness, limited travel corridors, and low visitation have all helped to preserve this type of opportunity. Help maintain these values by planning your trip well, being prepared, and camping light. Water is not available along these mountain bike routes, so be sure to carry plenty with you. • Designated mountain biking routes have not been established on the Monument. • Mountain biking is not allowed on backcountry hiking routes.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Please contact the park for information on auto/motorcycle tours.

  • Camping

    Henrieville Creek (Smith Ranch) Located on the north side of Highway 12, among scattered pinyon pine, juniper and Ponderosa pine. This site has the Gray Cliffs of the Grand Staircase as a backdrop and sits alongside Henrieville Creek.

    Just beyond mile marker 37, watch for the Henrieville Creek bridge. (Henrieville Creek is the watercourse which has been on your right for several miles, and may be a dry wash). As you cross the Henrieville Creek bridge, turn left on the dirt road on the left side of the highway immediately after the bridge.

    Descending "The Blues" from the Powell Point Overlook, watch the mile markers. As you pass mile marker 38, slow down in anticipation of a right turn. As you come around a sweeping left-hand bend, Henrieville Creek bridge will appear ahead. Take the last dirt road to the right just prior to the bridge (you will pass two other dirt roads to the right in this same general area).

    To site: Follow the left forks of this dirt road for approximately 300 yards. There are several open areas to camp, along with several sites located on a tight loop road among the trees.

    Henrieville Creek Campsite

    Kitchen Corral Wash From the turnoff at mile marker 37 on Highway 89 between Kanab and Paria Movie Set, this site lies north of the highway about one mile along the Kitchen Canyon Road. It is the site of an old gravel pit that has been revegetated, and has room enough for horse trailers or travel trailers.

    Campsite

    Pump Canyon Springs Grosvenor Arch is a rare double arch just off Cottonwood Canyon Road. About 8 miles south of Grosvenor Arch on the west side of Cottonwood Canyon Road, a loop dirt road accesses an undeveloped site along Cottonwood Creek.

    Pump Canyon Springs Campsite

    Rock Springs Bench Cottonwood Canyon Road travels generally north/south between Highway 89 and Kodachrome Basin State Park near Cannonville. The campsite is an undeveloped open area located on the south side of Cottonwood Canyon Road. The turnoff is one mile east of the junction with Kodachrome State Park. The area is an open flat used for dispersed camping.

    Rock Springs Bench Campsite

    Skutumpah Terrace Johnson Canyon Road turns north from Highway 89 about ten miles east of Kanab. Skutumpah road heads northeast from Johnson Canyon Road at the fork with Glendale Bench Road about 17 miles from Highway 89. Nearly halfway between Johnson Canyon and Kodachrome Basin roads on Skutumpah Road is an undeveloped overlook that can accommodate several campers. The pull-out is located on the east side of the road, just south of Bull Valley Gorge.

  • Hiking

    Dry Fork CanyonBefore you begin exploring this region, take time to plan and be prepared with the proper equipment, maps, knowledge, and a backcountry permit. Always carry extra water, food, matches or a lighter, a signal mirror, and foul weather gear. Technology can make backcountry travel more comfortable, but be aware that cell phones, radios, and GPS units do not work in many areas.

    Always make sure that someone knows your plans, when you are due back, and who to call if you are overdue. Search and rescue can take several days. It is expensive, and you may be charged for your rescue.

    Almost all hiking is on unmarked routes where the use of a map, compass, and/or a GPS unit is necessary. The terrain is rugged. River travel involves numerous water crossings or walking in water for long distances and bushwacking through dense brush. Side canyons and slots can have deep pools of cold water even in the summer months. Flash floods can occur any time of the year. Quicksand is common and may be waist-deep in places.

    Benches and slickrock areas are broken with steep, impassable cliffs, pouroffs, ledges, and areas of deep sand with little or no shade. Never climb up or down into areas that you are not absolutely sure you can climb back out. Never assume that you can continue forward.

    Conditions change seasonally and often suddenly. This is a beautiful but unforgiving landscape. Some problems you might encounter are unexpected snow storms, flash floods, lightning storms, impassable roads, extreme heat or cold, dried up water sources, and high water from floods or spring runoff. This is a land of extremes.

  • Historic Sites

    Please contact the park for historical/cultural tours.

  • Horseback Riding

    The Monument offers many opportunities to experience the backcountry by horse. The varied Saddle (Artist's Sketch)landforms present a variety of challenging terrain for all skill levels. These lands are rugged and primitive, appealing to those looking for adventure. The area's remoteness, limited travel corridors, and low visitation have helped preserve this type of opportunity. Help maintain these values by planning your trip well, being prepared, and camping light.

    In the early days of settlement, horses and pack stock were important for survival and making a living in this rugged, arid, and immense landscape. Very few residents had vehicles; horses were the only transportation. Running cattle was a common livelihood, whether for producing beef or dairy products.

    Today, when people take horses and other stock into this rugged landscape, they have the advantage of modern equipment and stock trailers to get to trailheads.

    The purpose of the journey is typically to enjoy the scenery and the feeling of freedom that riding offers.

    Before you begin to explore this region, take time to plan and be prepared with the proper equipment, maps, knowledge, and a backcountry permit. Weed-free feed is required. Technology can make backcountry travel more comfortable, but be aware that cell phones, radios, and GPS units do not work in many areas. Rescues can take several days and are expensive. Most small towns lack veterinary services.

    Designated horse and pack stock routes have not been established on the Monument.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument covers 1.9 million acres of public lands in southern Utah, with over 900 miles of routes available for vehicle travel. Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are restricted to certain designated roads in the Monument.

    Great Western Trail The Great Western Trail (GWT) is a corridor of multiple-use trails that traverse north to south from Canada to Mexico. Recreation opportunities on the GWT may include four-wheel driving, ATV travel, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. However, it is not feasible, nor is it the intent of the GWT to accommodate all modes of transportation on every portion of the route.

    A section of the GWT passes through the Monument on 46.5 miles of designated open roads. The route runs north to south, through the Podunk Creek, Deer Springs Wash, Nephi Pasture, and Seaman Wash areas. It follows varied terrain, from deep sandy roads to sections that are muddy when wet, as well as seven miles of the Skutumpah Road. Much of the route is subject to washouts and flooding.

    Access to some roads may require ATVs and dirt bikes to be hauled in via other transport.

    Visitors are responsible for knowing regulations on OHV use. Call 1-800-OHV-RIDE to learn about Utah OHV regulations.

    Cross-country travel is prohibited, which includes dry washes. Check at a Monument visitor center for maps and information before your trip begins. Brochure maps are also located at portal kiosks on Skutumpah, Cottonwood, and Hole-in-the-Rock Roads.

Seasonality/Weather

In the canyons and plateaus where the Monument is located, the weather can change from one extreme to another in a matter of minutes. Powder-dry arroyos can suddenly be changed into boiling, muddy stream channels by thunderstorms many miles away. Scorching desert heat during the day gives way to cold, clear nights. During the summer months, small springs and tinajas become life saving oasis for wildlife. When winter arrives, bitter cold temperatures rule the canyons, while snows blanket the higher plateaus.

Directions

Driving

From Salt Lake City: The major roadways are I-15 S to UT-24 E to UT-89 S. The Escalante Visitor Center is off UT-12 W; or stay on UT-89 S to Kanab. The drive to Escalante is about five and a half hours oneway; six and a half hours one-way to Kanab. From St. George: Take I-15 N to UT-14 E to US-89 N. The Escalante Visitor Center is off UT-12 E. The drive is approximately three and a half hours one-way.

Flying

The Escalante Municipal Airport and the Bryce Canyon, Page and Kanab Airports are the closest airports to the national monument.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(435) 644-1200

Links