Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

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Grand Staircase National Monument - Willis Creek
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The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is 1.9 million acres of primitive land. Within the boundaries, two-hundred-million years of geological treasures abound. This great land is located in Southern Utah, dominating the land near Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. Finding the time to fit a Grand Staircase adventure into your vacation itinerary will make your trip to the Southwest all the more enjoyable. For those who are vacationing near Zion the easiest access is in Glendale.  The Glendale entrance to the Grand Staircase is a dirt road like most of the roads in the Staircase.  Please assess road and weather conditions before traveling the Backways. Directions: The entrance is 9 miles from the junction of Utah Highways 9 & 89, in Glendale. The Historic Smith Hotel and the Buffalo Bistro are right across the highway from the Glendale entrance. map

Vacation Ideas!

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Grand Staircase Lodging

Grand Staircase Vacation itinerary

Skutumpah Road: Venture into the wilderness of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and hike Lick Wash and Willis Creek slot canyons. If you want something a little more adventurous hike Bull Valley Gorge.  The ten hour hike from Bull Valley Gorge to Sheep Creek to Willis Creek is one of the best hikes anywhere!

Cottonwood Road: There are a couple of gems on Cottonwood Road including Grosvenor Arch and Yellow Rock. The Paria Movie Set use to be along this road, but it burned down in 2006. Cottonwood Narrows is a short slot canyon adventure where you can stretch your legs.

Wahweap Hoodoos: The hike to the Wahweap Hoodoos begins in the small town of Big Water.  These are a real treat and quite unique.

Rimrock Hoodoos: This is more of a walk from the side of the road than a hike. From Big Water, drive 12 miles west on Highway 89. Start hiking from the kiosk on the right side (north) of the road.

Grand Staircase Lodging: Return to East Zion and prepare for day 5 of your Southwestern vacation at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Detailed Hiking Guide

Highway 89A to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

On the way to the North Rim, take some time to stop at the LeFevre view point on Highway 89A.  From the view point it is possible to view all the layers of the Grand Staircase at once. The Staircase extends 150 miles from bottom to top and rises 3500 ft. in elevation. The jagged edges of Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks are the top risers and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is the bottom.  Zion National Park is in the middle.

Travel through the Staircase from Zion to Bryce Canyon

Even if you are not up to hiking in the Grand Staircase, Skutumpah Road is an adventure in itself.  This is not the quickest way to travel to Bryce Canyon from Zion, but it is certainly the most adventurous way.  If you enjoy dirt roads then give the Skutumpah Backway into the Grand Staircase a try. If not, then stick to Highway 89.

Grand Staircase Vacation: Canyon Country

Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Red Canyon - Dixie National Forest Cedar Mountain - Dixie National Forest Zion National Park Coral Pink Sand Dunes North Rim of the Grand Canyon Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument East Zion Welcome Center Bryce Canyon National Park Cedar Breaks National Monument Scenic Byway 89 Scenic Byway 14 Scenic Byway 143 Scenic Byway 12 Scenic Byway 9 - Zion Mt. Carmel Hwy Zion National Park Lodging Zion National Park Lodging

The Grand Staircase-Escalante can be entered from the small town of Glendale, in East Zion. 
Naturalist NotesNature Notes

Slot Canyons are rare treasures since the right conditions must exist for their formation. It all begins with a hairline crack in the sandstone, then flowing water forces the crack larger, pushing each individual sand grain apart. Convoluted passages result as water cuts through sandstone, carving a wavy pattern along the slot canyon walls. Over time, as flash floods force their way through the passage, a slot canyon is made.

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