Before we moved to Utah, I’m not sure I was even aware of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. But a few months after we moved, at a celebration to kick off the beginning of the school year, a colleague of mine spoke about Grand Staircase-Escalante effusively, calling it his favorite place in Utah. Ever since, we’ve been intrigued. It took us a little while, but we were finally introduced to the monument over Memorial Day weekend – though it was truly just that, an introduction.
Grand Staircase-Escalante, sometimes referred to as GSENM in short, is comprised of nearly 1.9 million acres in southern Utah. It’s a behemoth and the largest national monument in the country. It’s not what some people may think of as a typical national monument. It’s rugged. The area contained in the monument was the last land to be surveyed in the contiguous US and still offers breathtaking but harsh scenery. It’s a place which warrants planning, as weather or ill preparation can leave you stranded in an instant. It’s a landscape that can be enjoyed by both the casual tourist and the more serious adventurer. There is truly something for everyone.
Until this past weekend, I couldn’t really comprehend the sheer size of the monument. It’s such a vast space. To that effect, this post is going to be more of a home base of sorts. I’ll continue to add any posts related to GSENM here.
*On December 4, 2017, President Trump issued a proclamation reducing the size of the monument and splitting it into three separate districts: Grand Staircase, Escalante Canyons, and Kaiparowits. Many of the areas which are no longer covered under the monument return to their former status as Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs). The remainder is managed by the BLM. On the ground, these changes are slow and muddy. So, for ease and simplicity, I am still adding sites to this page which fell under the monument’s original boundaries. At least until things are more clear.