Grand Staircase – Escalante
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument an area of plateaus, sandstone canyons, unique rock formations and cliffs in southern Utah. We offer a variety of rides in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This area is called the Grand Staircase because of the different levels of formations in the area. Each level comes from a different geologic time when various sediments were laid down in layers at the bottom of a great lake. After the lake receded, the layers were gradually exposed leaving a literal staircase of multi-colored rock formations, which cover several thousand square miles. Bryce Canyon was one of the last layers of sediment and therefore rests near the top of the Grand Staircase. The 1.7 million acres of desert was designated a national monument in September 1996. This labyrinth of deep canyons and gorges prohibited access to the region and consequently this was the last explored area of the continental United States.
This area was partially made famous as a hideout for the outlaws of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The maze of canyons made for a perfect place to lay-low after a robbery or other illegal activities. Lawmen unfamiliar with the region would frequently find themselves hopelessly lost and without needed food and water, while attempting to capture wanted criminals.
Many Native American Indian tribes have used the area for protection and for hunting and foraging. Various Indian groups have inhabited the area for the past 2,000+ years. One group, called the Anasazi (or ancient ones) left many ruins and writings in the canyons of the Escalante.
The region is filled with towers, buttes, spires, and other unique geologic formations. Winter snows from nearby mountains feed the canyons with a constant but small flow of water through much of the year. As a result the canyons offer hanging gardens along cliffs faces, abundant wildlife and spectacular views.
Horseback riding into this region provides the opportunity to see this region as the cattlemen, outlaws, lawmen and Native American Indians once did. While riding horseback you will experience the solitude and awe that others once felt as they passed through the region. Your guide will have plenty of information and stories to tell about the area.
The monument extends eastward from Bryce Canyon National Park to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It borders the Dixie National Forest on the north and extends southward to the Arizona State line. Scenic Byway 12 winds through the northern portion, and back-ways branching from Highway 12 provide access to trails and features in the monument. The Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument is located between Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Lake Powell National Recreation Area, and Canyonlands National Park.