"Huge Area in Wide Open Spaces" Top 5 Page for this destination Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument by BruceDunning

A Wide Open Range with Fabulous Scenery

The area was dedicated to be a national protected monument site in 1996. It covers 1.7 million acres, or that equals 2,656 square miles. The boundaries are on the north Hwy 12 Scenic Highway, and Hwy 89 at the south. Getting around the protected area would take a drive of around 250 miles if you use the main paved highways. There are four roads that go through the area, but none are paved, and barely maintained. These roads used to be a shortcut between north/south for locals. The Bureau of Land Management will not, and do not maintain much of them now; purposely. They do not want the obligation, and the primary goal is to keep it a wilderness. That has caused much conflict with Counties in the areas, though.

A Highway Not to Forget for Beauty While Driving

This highway that runs 124 miles along the north edge of Grand Staircase, all the way from Torrey at Hwy 24 to Panguitch on Hwy 89. This span of highway is unique in that some of it is relatively new; the Hogsback section was one that comes to mind. It is a section of about 5 miles that was a last edition to construction back in 1950's. It is on a high mountain of slickrock and drop offs are 1000 feet to either side. The ascent/descent is also steep at 14% grade. It starts shortly after Boulder town, and twists and turns, and drops a couple of thousand feet from the east. Picture taking is WOW

Grand Staircase runs Along Scenic Highway Routes

Hole-in the -Rock Road is one of those roads that goes through the Escalante region for 58 miles. Only 17 of those may be decent/passable enough to drive in from the north. From there is gets rough and even 4WD vehicles may have problems. The different colors and rock formations, as well as the change in the road difficulty is why you want to get in there and find out for yourself.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pristine and secluded withh few tourists
  • Cons:A very long way to places and into the interior
  • In a nutshell:It is more than difficult to drive roads in the park
  • Last visit to Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (19)

Comments (10)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    Bruce, this is an excellent page with photos to match. My kind of scenery, just wish I could make it here to see for myself:(

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Based on the recent activity list on the right side, it looks like you did a bunch of work in this pag recently. It looks like quite the back country adventure.

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2011 at 7:15 AM

    Looks a fantastic place, definitely my cup of tea although some of those roads look treacherous! Dirt tracks and no crash barriers....!!

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    Love these hoodoos, and that HWY 12 sounds like a nice drive with A1 American quality as you said...wow, you have taken great notes on these places! Awesome work!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    We stayed in that same motel I think, back in 1993 - it doesn't seem to have changed at all and it was old-fashioned then!

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    Gorgeous scenery in your beautiful pictures! Well worth all the effort of getting there. Your page is an excellent guide for prospective explorers of the area, including those in cars.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 26, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    So much to see there... Thanks for your story, Bruce! ><><>< I would have joined you with pleasure!

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2009 at 9:57 PM

    wow, that is a great natural scenery, thanks for sharing !

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2009 at 12:19 AM

    Oh wow, Grand Staircase is high on my list. You did see a lot there - adorable scenery! Oh, sad to hear that Paria movie set was burnt :-( Thanks for the tip about Keven Peterson, sounds magic!! And must visit!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    So far so good. Didn't know you weren't finished yet.


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