If you’re thinking Grand Staircase-Escalante is just another Out West pass-through, pretty place, think again. With over 1.9 million acres of vast wilderness, Grand Staircase-Escalante amazes you with its grandeur, formations, and ribbons of color unlike any you see at other national parks.
Since the Escalante River area was one of the last in America to be explored and mapped, it wasn’t until 1996 during President Bill Clinton’s administration that Grand Staircase Escalante was named a National Monument. But oh, is it ever deserving!
Over sixty million years ago when Utah was covered by lakes, the sediment from those lakes hardened into rock. The “staircase” was formed when the Colorado plateau lifted, and the layers of deposits extended, developing the fans and ribbons we see today.
If you follow the route we took from Capitol Reef along Utah 12, make time in your schedule to stop in Boulder at Hell’s Backbone Grill and Farm “where (they say) the food is heavenly.” (And it really is.) The two owners Blake Spalding (river chef, caterer, and practicing Buddhist) and Jennifer Castle (feeder of trail crews and recipe writer) invite you to indulge in their regionally based cuisine that has them winning awards like Best Restaurant Utah 2017 and James Beard Foundation Award Finalist. We won’t soon forget Duck, Duck Goose Quesadilla and Posole Stew, but any of their organically grown, carefully crafted entrees will find you loving Blake and Jen’s elemental style, their blended Southwestern, Pueblo, Western Range flavors, and their business based upon Buddhist principles. (Lunch ends at 2:30, so pace yourself and reserve ahead!)
When you get back on the road, have your binoculars and camera ready. You don’t want to miss the vistas: great, huge, imposing sky and colors of the Southwest.
And if you’re there in the fall, look for evidence of turning leaves and contrasting colors of shrubbery dotting the landscape.
It’s all elemental. Expansive. And quite glorious. It’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
For more information:
Visit Southern Utah: http://www.visitsouthernutah.com/Grand-Staircase-National-Monument
Grand Staircase Escalante: https://www.visitutah.com/places-to-go/most-visited-parks/
To see all our posts on the national parks in Utah, click on We Saw Utah in the Travel Series menu at the top.