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Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument

I’ve traveled near and even through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, but I’ve never had time to really explore it. For that reason, I’ll keep this post short, as a place holder for sometime when I get back.

The Monument was declared by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and originally designated an area of some 4,730 square miles in Southern Utah. However, in 2017 President Donald Trump ordered that its size be reduced to almost half that, at 2,524 square miles. The original extension of the monument made it the largest in the lower 48 (Misty Fjords, in Alaska, as well as five marine monuments, are larger).

On this map (original found on Wikipedia), the current extension of the monument is shown as the shaded green area, while all the area inside the green borders made up the original monument.

If you follow the itinerary I have suggested, you will enter land which was in the original designation of the Monument some 15 miles down U.S. 89 from Kanab. After passing The Toadstools, you will turn to the north up Cottonwood Road (Road 400 – it is a dirt road, but not too rough going, usually). By the time you get to the Parts Box Trailhead, you are in the current Monument, and you will be in the Monument most of the way to Kodachrome Basin. Make sure you don’t miss the turnoff to the famed “double arch,” Grosvenor Arch.

This is the route I recommend. However, if you want to skip the dirt road through Grand Staircase, see the page on Kodachrome Basin for the alternative route.

You will also pass through land which was in the original designation, but is no longer in the Monument for most of the way from Bryce Canyon National Park to the City of Escalante. From Escalante, I recommend you continue on Rt. 12 which will take you through the current Monument to Boulder City.

If you make this trip, you should have some basis for forming an opinion as to how large the Monument should be.

Here’s a link to Utah State’s website on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and here is the Official BLM Site for the Monument, though it has not been fully updated to take into account President Trump’s proclamation.

On to: Kodachrome Basin State Park

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