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Overview

In the huge, diverse Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument you can hike on slickrock and squeeze through slot canyons, visit a prehistoric village site, visit a set where your favorite old Western movies were shot, drive miles on desert back roads to arches, mesas, plateaus, and a variety of other rock formations. The monument is actually divided into three districts: Escalante River and canyons (easternmost and most popular), Kaiparowits Plateau, and Grand Staircase. A couple of popular and relatively easy hikes with good paved-road access lead past sandstone walls stained with desert varnish to waterfalls. Much travel here is on dirt ...

In the huge, diverse Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument you can hike on slickrock and squeeze through slot canyons, visit a prehistoric village site, visit a set where your favorite old Western movies were shot, drive miles on desert back roads to arches, mesas, plateaus, and a variety of other rock formations. The monument is actually divided into three districts: Escalante River and canyons (easternmost and most popular), Kaiparowits Plateau, and Grand Staircase. A couple of popular and relatively easy hikes with good paved-road access lead past sandstone walls stained with desert varnish to waterfalls. Much travel here is on dirt roads that are rutted at best and impossible to drive when wet. If you don't have a vehicle with relatively good clearance, consider signing on with an outfitter. (One local company uses pack goats!) Although food and lodging are mostly make-do, the exceptions are in the town of Boulder, where the Boulder Mountain Lodge and Hell's Backbone Grill are worth splurges.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring or fall