Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument


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The Ultimate Southwest Vacation includes the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

Stay in Mt. Carmel Jct., the heart of the parks, and visit the treasures of the Southwest.

Mileage: Mt. Carmel Jct.
Zion Park 12 miles
Grand Staircase 9 miles
Sand Dunes 11 miles
Dixie Forest 22 miles
Cedar Breaks 45 miles
Red Canyon 47 miles
Coyote Butte 57 miles
Bryce Canyon 60 miles
North Rim 85 miles
Toroweap 90 miles

Plan your Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument vacation with our Utah and Arizona maps.

In these pages you will find insiders information on the best Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument hikes. This detailed guide includes road maps, park maps, pictures, trail beta, backpacking, history, fees, geology, flora, fauna, campgrounds, things for kids to do and even information on the Grand Staircase hidden treasures.

Making summer memories in Utah's national monuments.

 Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Map Zion National Park Map North Rim Grand Canyon  Map Zion National Park Lodging Grand Staircase Escalante Map Bryce Canyon Map Cedar Breaks and Dixie Forest Map

Grand Staircase Map
Grand Staircase Road Map

Directions: East Zion to Staircase

From Salt Lake City, travel south on I15 to U-20. Exit on U-20. Turn south on U-89 and follow U-89 to Glendale.

From Las Vegas: Travel I15 to exit 16. Follow U-9 to the south entrance of Zion and through to the east entrance. Take U-9 for 12 miles to Mt. Carmel Jct, where U-89 and U-9 meet. Drive north on U-89 to Glendale.

From Glendale, turn right on 300 N. (Bench Road) Follow the graded dirt road, Skutumpah, into the Grand Staircase. Remember the Grand Staircase is a wild and remote place. The dirt roads may be impassible when wet and there is usually no water, services or cell phone access. Skutumpah is a backway and should only be traveled in dry conditions. Call for road and weather information before travel: 435.644.4680

Grand Staircase Geology

Taking up almost 2 million acres, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is huge! Here the layers are seen from highway 89A in Arizona from the "Le Fevre Overlook" in Kaibab National Forest.

Viewing the Whole Grand Staircase

Several miles out from the Utah town of Kanab, all five stairsteps of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument can be seen. The Grand Staircase National Monument is huge, consisting of almost two million acres of plateaus, mesas, buttes, slot canyons - all in a primitive setting.





Grand Staircase-Escalante Geology

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a vast landscape, one-hundred by two-hundred miles, governed by the BLM. This monument is a separate entity from other nearby parks and monuments, even though they are part of its geological makeup.  For millions of years, sediments were deposited in the low lands. These sediments formed layers of sandstone, shale and mudstone. A short time ago in geological time, perhaps ten million years, the slow uplift of the Colorado Plateau began.

Colors and Age of the Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase is made up of five tilted, southward, facing escarpments called stairsteps. The stairsteps rise 5500' and range from the North Rim Grand Canyon through Zion National Park to the uppermost riser, the pink cliffs of Bryce Canyon. Although there are other exposed areas of claron formation, geologists usually think of Bryce Canyon, Red Canyon and Cedar Breaks when speaking of pink cliffs. The steps of the Grand Staircase are described by their colors: chocolate, vermillion, white, gray and pink. The bottom step is made of limestone and is known as the North Rim Grand Canyon. Interestingly however, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument does not include Zion, Bryce, Red Canyon, Cedar Breaks or the Grand Canyon although they are all part of its geological make-up.

Oldest: Chocolate Layer - Grand Canyon

Chocolate Step - The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is the oldest and the bottom layer of the Grand Staircase. Made up of Kaibab limestone, it formed between 200 to 225 million years ago. The Chocolate layer is found between Kanab and Fredonia and the bottom layer of Kaibab limestone forms the rim of the Grand Canyon and the surface rock underlies most of the Kaibab Plateau.

Vermillion Layer - Kanab

Vermillion Cliffs - These reddish or vermillion colored cliffs are about 165 to 200 million years old and are found along highway 89 near Kanab. They are made up of deposited silt and desert dunes.

White Layer - Zion Park and Mt. Carmel Jct.

White Cliffs - These are the magnificent white towering Navajo sandstone cliffs seen in Zion National Park. The White layer is the eroded cliffs in the Navajo sandstone of Zion Canyon and the White Cliffs found in Mount Carmel Junction. This white capped thin layer was deposited about 150 million years ago on top of the temple cap formation during the time when streams moved over the Navajo Desert and was later covered by great dunes of sand.

Skutumpah Terrace - The Skutumpah Terrace is located between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon inside the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It's made up of carmel formation limestones.

Gray Layer - Between Zion Park & Bryce

Grey Cliffs - This step is made up of soft Cretaceous shale and sandstone that was deposited around 130 million years ago. It is as old as the dinosaur and is seen in Mount Carmel Junction and north of Kanab. These are the middle areas of the Grand Staircase, along highway 89 between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.

Youngest: Pink Layer - Bryce Canyon

Pink Cliffs - This 50 to 60 million year old rock is the exposed claron formation found in Bryce Canyon, Red Canyon and Cedar Breaks.

Paunsaugunt Plateau - Bryce Canyon is the jagged edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau bordered by hwy 12 to the north and hwy 89 to the west. Paunsaugunt means "home of the beavers" and the name was given by John Wesley Powell.

Naming the Grand Staircase-Escalante

The Escalante portion of the name came from Sivestre Velez de Escalante who was on the Domingues-Escalante expedition to Utah in 1776. The town Escalante and the Escalante River were also named for this man.



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Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - UTAH!

Escalante Grand Staircase

Everything alike drenched in gold light, heaven's colors coming down to the meadows and groves, making every leaf a romance, air, earth, and water in peace beyond thought, the great brooding days opening and closing in devine salms of color.

-- John Muir

Photo: Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
Photography by Tanya

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