Utah has five national parks, and we love them all. But Utah also contains seven national monuments and six national forest areas. While we at the Lodge think these areas are just as worthy of your time as the national parks, many people don’t get the chance to visit them. In this three-part blog series, we’ve highlighted the top national monuments and forests that we think you should include in your vacation plans.
First on our list is Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. This is one of our particular favorites, and once you visit, we think you’ll know why. The Grand Staircase is an extension of the Waterpocket Fold’s geographical features. Standing at the overlook, you can see the sandstone knolls spread into the blue horizon. But the big picture is just the beginning, some of the best hiking trails we know of are found in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. If, and when, you visit be sure to hike to Calf Creek Falls. This is a very well known trail. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, consider getting off the paved roads and heading into the backcountry.
When to Visit – As with most places in Southern Utah, almost anytime is a good time to visit. However, Grand Staircase can get very hot during the summer so we recommend visiting the area just after the spring rains are over. Think late April, early May.
How to Get There – Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument is best accessed by going south from Torrey, Utah. You can also travel north from the small town of Escalante, Utah.
Nearby Attractions – Highway 12 (the best scenic route in the nation by the way) cuts through Grand Staircase National Monument, connecting Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. Visit both if you have the time.