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The Grand Staircase - Click Here!
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Map of Escalanate, UT

Map of Escalante, UT
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Escalante is centrally located to numerous visitor attractions and cities in southern Utah. It is an excellent destination in itself, in addition to serving as a stop over between other scenic destinations!

The Grand Staircase-Escalante
Broad, tilted terraces form the Grand Staircase. From the south the terraces step up in great technicolor cliffs: Vermilion,White, Gray, Pink. Together these escarpments expose 200million years of theearth's history in a dramaticGrand Staircase-Escalante Photo geologic library.

The deep, brilliant red Moenkopi sandstone of the Vermilion Cliffs, with their flared bases of Chinle badlands, contain many fossils of fish and early dinosaurs from the Triassic Period. This step is easy to see near Kanab, Utah (at the southern edge of the monument). A step north, the nearly unbroken line of the White Cliffs is composed of Jurassic sand dunes solidified into Navajo sandstone.It was formed by the deposition of sand in ancient sand dunes. This step is most easily seen in the Escalante and Calf Creek areas.

Above the White Cliffs, the younger, shaley Gray Cliffs present a softer profile. Deposited when an ocean covered the land, they contain evidence of marine life: seashells, shark's teeth, and beds of coal from compressed swamp and marsh plants. This step is seen in the central portion of the Monument, especially along the Hole-in-the-Rock Road.

At the top of the Grand Staircase, the limey siltstone Pink Cliffs were deposited by an ancient freshwater lake and now lie mostly in Bryce Canyon National Park. This last step was formed as mud, silt and limestone were deposited in a series of lakes. In this staircase of cliffs and terraces, the Paria River and its tributaries have carved a landscape of isolated mesas, valleys, buttes, and narrow canyons easily seen around the town of Tropic.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Named for one of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in Southern Utah. Erosion has Bryce Canyon National Parkshaped colorful Claron limestones, sandstones and mudstones into thousands of spires, fins, pinnacles and mazes. Collectively called "hoodoos," these unique formations are whimsically arranged and tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name. Ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows and fir-spruce forests border the rim of the plateau, while panoramic views of three states spread beyond the park's boundaries. This area boasts some of the nation's best air quality. This, coupled with the lack of nearby large light sources, creates unparalleled opportunities for star-gazing.

Directions from the town of Escalante: Travel west on Utah 12 to the intersection with Utah 63. Turn south (left) to reach the park entrance.

Capitol Reef
The most scenic portion of the Waterpocket Fold, found near the Fremont River, is known as Capitol Reef: "capitol" for the white domes of Navajo Sandstone that resemble capitol building rotundas, and "reef" for the rocky cliffs which are a barrier to travel, like a coral reef.

Capitol Reef National Park was established because of the scenic rock domes and narrow canyons found along the trace of the Waterpocket Fold. Indeed, the park boundaries were drawn to encompass most of the Fold. Capitol Reef is a place to enjoy the scenic majesty formed by geologic processes, and also to appreciate the interrelationships between the Earth and all life found in the varied environments within the park--from the forested slopes of Thousand Lake Mountain, to the green oasis of Fruita, to the barren Bentonite Hills.

Directions from the town of Escalante: Travel north on Utah 12 to the intersection with Utah 24. Turn East (right) on Hwy 24 for approx. 6 miles. Turn Right toward park entrance.

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