Utah is famous for many awe-inspiring attractions, the most well-known of which include the so-called ‘Mighty 5.’ These are the five national parks the area is renowned for – Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion – but there are several lesser-known, equally spectacular areas to visit in the southern part of Utah.
One of these is nothing short of stunning: the Grand Staircase National Monument region in Escalante, Utah. It’s infrequently visited and remote, but it’s well worth your time. Let’s take a look at the breathtaking experience the Grand Staircase National Monument in Escalante has to offer.
The Grand Staircase National Monument
The Grand Staircase is a geological feature that begins at the northern rim of the Grand Canyon and continues to the 9,000-foot high edge of Utah’s High Plateaus. Visitors are treated to a series of colorful ‘risers’ that form the staircase portion of the feature.
These risers include the Shinarump Cliffs, the Vermillion Cliffs, the White Cliffs, the Gray Cliffs, and the Pink Cliffs. Each is progressively higher than the last.
The principal drainage of the area is the Paria River, which courses 80 miles from the High Plateaus to the Colorado River. As it does, it continues to carve away at the deepest canyon in the Paria Plateau.
The Paria Canyon is close to 3,000 feet deep in places, and it’s one of the longest backcountry journeys in the region, so come prepared. For those who dare to try, the trail meanders through a series of narrow slot canyons, including Peek-a-Boo and Spooky slot canyons, that offer a scenic treat for hikers.
Escalante Canyons in the Grand Staircase National Monument Region
The Escalante Canyons are in the northern areas of the monument. They are volcanic tablelands that bound the river basin.
The drainages for these incredible canyons begin at a terrace that is crossed by the Hole-in-the-Rock Road, and they make their way to the Escalante River. Along the way, visitors will encounter stunning slickrock gorges carved by the draining water.
Their sudden emergence and profound dimensions offer an inspirational scene that few places can rival.
The Cosmic Ash Tray/Kaiparowits Plateau
In between the Grand Staircase and the Escalante Canyons sits the 1,600 square mile Kaiparowits Plateau. It rises from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area’s Lake Powell, and the Paria River separates it from the Grand Staircase National Monument.
It’s one of the most scientifically important areas because it contains an unbroken fossil record that spans some 30 million years. Here, you’ll find dinosaur fossils and other life forms from the Late Cretaceous Era.
If that’s not enough, you’ll also be treated to the Grosvenor Arch, the Cottonwood Canyon Narrows, and the Hackberry Canyon. These are truly awe-inspiring scenic treats.
Stay at Escalante Yurts
Escalante Yurts is the place to stay while in the Grand Staircase National Monument area of Southern Utah. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, this is it. We have yurts of various sizes to accommodate your family or friends and make your vacation even more memorable.
Each yurt comes with a kitchen, a bathroom, and a private patio. You also get a comfortable bed with clean linens and a hearty breakfast to prepare you for the day ahead. Make your reservations today!
Image: The Grand Staircase