Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, located in Utah, was established as a national monument in 1996 and includes 1.7 million acres. (6,879 square km) The land included in the monument was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped and includes three separate units; Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyon. Within the confines of the park, which spans five eco-zones, are monoliths, slot canyons, natural bridges, and arches.Visitors can enjoy the diverse landscape of the Grand Staircase National Monument, which includes desert lowlands to coniferous forest. The Monument is steeped in history; the Anasazi and Fremont cultures left rock art panels from AD 950-1100, and fossil excavations have provided information about the change in the ecosystem after the dinosaur era. Opportunities abound for geologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, historians and biologists to learn, as well as for visitors to enjoy a variety of recreation.Regardless of your particular interests, you will find plenty to see and do during a visit to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Point your RV in the Monument’s direction and explore the area’s unique scenery and experience its history while engaging in your favorite activities.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument does not have any official entrances, however there are four visitor centers surrounding the Monument. The main visitor center to the Escalante Canyon section of the Monument is located in Escalante, Utah. To get there from Salt Lake City, take I-15 S to exit 188 for US-50 E toward Scipio. Turn left onto US-50 W, a paved, relatively straight road and proceed for 24.4 miles (39 km). Take UT-24 E, a two-lane, paved road, to UT-12 W. Take UT-12 W (also a two-lane, paved road) to Escalante and the visitor center.
The visitor center to the Grand Staircase section is located in Kanab. From Salt Lake City, take I-15 S to exit 95 for UT-20 toward US-89. Turn left onto UT-20 E; continue on this straight, paved road for 20.5 miles (33 km) Turn right on US-89 S (a two-lane, paved road) and continue to Kanab.
Another visitor center is located on the north side of the monument in Cannonville. From Salt Lake City, take I-15 S to exit 95. Turn left onto UT-20 E and proceed for 20.5 miles (33 km). Make a right onto US-89 S and continue for 10.1 miles (16.3 km). Make a left so as to remain on US-89 S and drive for 6.9 miles (11 km). Make a left onto UT-12 E (a two-lane, paved road) and continue for 25.7 miles (41.4 km) to the visitor center.
To get to the Big Water Visitor Center from Salt Lake City, take I-15 S to exit 95 for UT-20 toward US-89. Turn left onto UT-20 E and continue for 20.5 miles (33 km). Turn right on US-89 S and continue to Big Water.
Parking is available within Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
There is no public transportation to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
The campground at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park offers a campground with 20 sites, one of which is for groups. RVs and trailers up to 40 feet in length can be accommodated, with some sites offering electric hook-ups, and each site has a fire pit, grill, and picnic table. The beach and a boat launch are both easily accessible from the campground, and a fish cleaning station is available for those who caught their next meal and want to get it prepared. The campground includes restrooms and hot showers, ensuring you can clean up after a day of adventure!
Looking to hike Calf Creek Falls? The Calf Creek Campground is an ideal location within Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument to set up camp. The campground is small, with 13 sites, that are first-come, first-served. Sites are small and located along Calf Creek.
While there are no hook-ups, sites are a quick walk to the trailhead to Lower Calf Creek Falls and the campground includes pit toilets. Enjoy relaxing in a beautiful desert oasis at the Calf Creek Campground, a great home base for adventure within Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
Another option for camping in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is Deer Creek Campground. At an elevation of 5800 feet, Deer Creek is a small campground along Burr Trail Road that includes seven sites within Deer Creek Canyon.
There is no water available at the campground and RVs and trailers cannot be accommodated due to the size of each site. However, this small campground offers the opportunity to get away from the crowds and enjoy access to the scenery and activities of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
A popular hike within the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is to Lower Calf Creek Falls. The lower falls are 130 feet (39.6 meters) in height, flowing to a deep swimming hole beneath them. The hike to the falls, which is just under six miles round trip, follows Calf Creek, and offers beautiful views as you travel through the canyon. On a warm day, you can enjoy a dip into the swimming hole. There is a beautiful sandy area near the falls that is perfect for a picnic while you take in the scenery!
While visiting Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy fishing, which is a great way to relax while taking in some of the gorgeous scenery. While there are a number of bodies of water, some of the more popular areas for fishing include the Escalante River and Bryce Canyon area.
There are numerous rental companies in the area where you can rent all of the fishing gear that you need, or you can bring your own.
Found within the desert of Grand Staircase Escalante, Coyote Gulch is a somewhat narrow canyon that winds through gorgeous red rocks, meeting up with the Escalante River above Lake Powell. A hike of 11.5 miles or 18.5 km (round trip) will take you past arches (Stevens Arch and Jacob Hamblin Arch, Coyote Natural Bridge) and wetlands. Some rock scrambling will be required along the trail. Take in the incredible scenery of the area as you explore at your own pace.
While visiting Grand Staircase Escalante, a great place to explore is Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. The park is at Wide Hollow Reservoir, which is popular for water activities like boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Within the park are a campground and picnic area. Also inside the park, you can observe large petrified logs and there is a hiking trail that will allow you to walk through the petrified forest. Learn more about the area and view displays of fossils (including dinosaur bones) at the Visitor Center.
During your visit, a great place to stop and explore is the Devil’s Garden Outstanding Natural Area, where you can encounter Navajo Sandstone hoodoos, domes, narrow passages and small arches that cannot be viewed from the road. A short and easy hike will take you up close to these natural wonders. There is also a picnic area that has tables, fire pits, and grills, as well as pit toilets. The trail, which is a loop, begins at the picnic area.
If you are looking to learn about the history of the area during your visit to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, along with the wildlife that call it home, there are a few museums that you can visit. The Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum, for example, has different rooms with a variety of exhibits. You can also check out the dinosaur museum at the Big Water Visitor Center, where you can view fossil displays and a 30-foot mural of the Cretaceous Period.