The Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument protects some of the most spectacular geological formations of the Grand Staircase area of Southern Utah. The Grand Staircase is the name given to the succession of sandstone cliffs that run step-like through Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park. It forms the backbone of Utah’s southern majesty.
President Clinton declared the area surrounding the town of Escalante a national monument in 1996. The monument encompasses almost 2 million areas of wilderness land, divided into three sub-regions. It is governed entirely by the Bureau of Land Management. The area as a whole has produced many archeological finds, including several dinosaur fossils.To really appreciate the beauty of this vast region, you have to experience it for yourself. The most convenient route through the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument is Utah Scenic Byway 12. This highway connects Bryce Canyon National Park in the south with Capitol Reef National Park in the north. A road-trip between these two national parks through such an amazing landscape is a truly memorable experience. In fact, it has been voted one of Utah’s best scenic drives.
Highway 12 follows the land around and over massive sandstone bluffs. The road connects a handful of little townships, including the Escalante and Boulder communities. Along this route, there are hundreds of places to pull over and enjoy the scenery or even have a picnic lunch. Networks of tracks and trails crisscross the land, many next to running rivers. It is a great place to spend a few hours, soaking in the serenity of nature.
The sheer expanse of the desert beauty in the Grand Staircase is phenomenal. Like we pointed out, you have to visit the area to fully appreciate it. People from all over the world include it in their vacation for just that reason.