Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is separated into three distinct districts that cover 1.7 million acres in Utah, connecting it to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park.
The three units of the national monument are Escalante Canyon, Kaiparowits, and Grand Staircase. While the part of the Escalante Canyon and Kaiparowits units of the national monument are in Bryce Canyon Country, the majority of the national monument is located in Kane County, Utah, near Kanab.
The area offers a vast expanse of desert land for exploration where visitors can hike, observe wildlife, and photograph the view. There are many activities in this area that will feed your need for adventure. When visiting Grand Staircase-Escalante, you’ll find numerous things to do and places to see that will make your experience unique and memorable.
- Calf Creek Recreation Area & Campground
- Upper Calf Creek Falls
- Grosvenor Arch
- The Grand Staircase – So Much To See & Do!
- Geology – Bryce Canyon – Grand Staircase
- Lower Calf Creek Falls
- Devil’s Garden in Grand Staircase-Escalante
- Cannonville, Utah – Gateway to Grand Staircase
- What’s in a Name? Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
- Grand Staircase: Adventure Waiting To Happen
- The Real Grand Staircase – First Three Steps
- The Grand Staircase – Upper Steps
- The Grand Staircase in Fall
- Devils Garden: A Natural Playground
- Dinosaur Fossils in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Top Things to Do Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
What to See
The sandstone rock formation, Grosvenor Arch, is visible in the western corner of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The arch is named after Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor, president of the National Geographic Society, the publisher of the National Geographic magazine.
Calf Creek Recreation Area
From the Calf Creek Recreation Area Campground, hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls or Upper Calf Creek Falls for views of incredible waterfalls.
Covering 640 acres of land, Devil’s Garden is a well-known site for outdoor adventure. This playground of rock formations showcases the Navajo sandstone in hoodoos, domes, narrow passages, and small arches.
Grand Staircase Pre-History
The history of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is right beneath your feet, literally. Within the monument are fossils that record the earth’s past inhabitants, dating back more than 70 million years. Through fossils found, paleontologists have shown that this arid desert was, at different times, an ocean, lake, and swamp.
Fossils found include fish, turtles, sharks’ teeth, plant life, and dinosaurs. Several dinosaur tracks have also been found throughout the monument. Professional digs in the area completed in 2001 have led to some very exciting dinosaur finds.
Things To Do
Explore Slot Canyons
Found along Hole in the Rock Road 26 miles south of Escalante are two popular slot canyons in Utah — Peek-a-boo Gulch and Spooky Gulch Slot Canyons. Located close together, you can hike these slot canyons separately or together. If it’s your first time hiking through slot canyons, make sure to have read our beginner’s guide and consider a professional guide service if you’re rappelling or going beyond the popular slot canyon locations.
Hiking Grand Staircase-Escalante
Hiking is a popular thing to do in Grand Staircase-Escalante that will take you to incredible viewpoints and scenic views. No matter the experience level, there is a hike suited for you. Our guide to hiking in the area has the basics and there are popular hikes that can give you wonderful memories in the area including slot canyons like Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch, Devil’s Garden, or the Calf Creek Recreation area.
Backpacking can also be a fun multi-day excursion with the proper permits and accommodating weather conditions. Overnight backpacking and hiking permits are free of charge and can be obtained at visitors centers or at developed trailheads.
Grand Staircase-Escalante Camping
Camping is a great lodging option for lower-budgets or outdoor enthusiasts. Within the monument, there are two campgrounds that operate on a first-come, first-serve basis: Deer Creek Campground and Calf Creek Campground.
The Deer Creek Campground is located along the Burr Trail nestled in Deer Creek Canyon with 7 campsites. Calf Creek Campground has 13-sites, a day-use picnic area, and the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trailhead.
How to get to Grand Staircase Escalante?
Getting to the different units of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument calls for a road trip! Driving in the car on Scenic Byway 12, you can oversee the area without realizing it. Grosvenor Arch is accessible through Cannonville, Utah and the Escalante Canyon Unit is between Escalante and Boulder, Utah.
Can you drive through Grand Staircase Escalante?
As you drive Scenic Byway 12 which spans 120 miles, you’ll travel through various areas showcasing the rugged, beautiful landscapes of Utah. As one of the two paved highways in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, you are guaranteed to overlook the area as you drive by.
Are dogs allowed in Grand Staircase Escalante?
Dogs are allowed on most hiking trails in the Grand Staircase-Escalante region. Dogs are not allowed in dry slot canyons along the Hole in the Rock Road because of the confined spaces. Some hikes allow dogs leashed and some allow dogs to roam unleashed, please be sure to not only view the guidelines for each hike but also pick up after your dog so you leave the area as beautiful as you found it. Dogs are permitted on the following trails.