The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, one of the newest national monuments in the national park system, is truly a wonder to behold; it contains 1.7 million acres of land, more than six thousand vertical feet of alternating cliffs, slopes, and terraces, and extends from the Utah / Arizona border just north rim of the Grand Canyon to the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. Laid out like giant stairs, each “riser” is about 2,000 feet high and each “tread” is a plateau that can extend as much as 15 miles wide.
The steps were formed over eons through varied erosion rates for each kind of rock and are made of colorful layers of pink, white, grey and vermillion cliffs. One of the best viewing spots where the layers are visible at one time is from Route 89A, just South of Kanab, UT. Drive up onto the Kaibab Plateau and find stopping points along the way to gain a great view of the various stairs within the Grand Staircases. With so much to see and do, it would take a lifetime just to get started. Few roads have invaded the area and if you’re not afraid to get a little dusty and hit the trail, there are endless surprises around every corner. From day hikes, to overnight multi-day trips or rock climbing and canyoneering, there is something for everyone.
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. In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps.
The nearly one thousand miles of roads providing public access to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, as well as access to the privately-owned properties within the Monument’s boundaries, are maintained by the professional road crews of Kane and Garfield Counties. Flash floods, fallen or overgrown trees, land and rockslides all can make keeping the roads open for the travelling public a “monumental” task. As you travel roadways throughout the Monument, you may occasionally experience temporary inconveniences at sites where county road crews are conducting maintenance. Please keep in mind that the road crews are out on the ground to keep the roads accessing Monument lands safe and well maintained. If you should see something on Monument roads that you feel we should know about, please call the Monument public affairs officer at (435) 644-1209 to report your concerns to Monument leadership.