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. We only hiked one trail in the monument on this visit, but we already have others in mind for future visits. I’ll continue to add any posts related to GSENM here. Enjoy!
A great place to start exploring GSENM is off Scenic Byway 12.