Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Photo Gallery

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Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is literally a staircase that climbs 5,500 feet to the rim of Bryce Canyon. These steps became famous after the government declared the nearly 1.9 million acres around it a national monument. But the staircase isn't the only fantastic feature of this protected land. Sitting between Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park, the monument is full of multi-hued cliffs, twisting canyons, expansive plateaus, and all sorts of buttes, pinnacles, and mesas.  
Credit: Joe Cornish/Digital Vision 
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Escalante has only one clearly marked, developed trail at Lower Calf Creek Falls, which lies between the towns of Escalante and Boulder on Highway 12. The 5.5-mile round-trip interpretive trail reaches the shady pool at the base of the 126-foot falls. The hike is considered moderately difficult and serves as a good introduction to Escalante's labryinth of canyons.  
Credit: Bureau of Land Management 
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On the east side of Escalante River, Little Death Hollow is fairly remote and inaccessible, though it does have an official trailhead. In its lower seven miles, red sandstone cliffs envelop the hollow before it narrows into a slot canyon with smooth, colorful rock walls.  
Credit: GregW66/Flickr 
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Exploring Grand Staircase-Escalante feels as if you're stepping into the past. Rock art from the Anasazi Indians, dinosaur fossils, and 270-million-year-old seashells are common finds. The area is full of modern creatures as well, such as mountain lion, bear, desert bighorn sheep, and more than 200 species of birds including bald eagles and peregrine falcons. The canyons have patches of wildflowers as well, much like the prickly pear cactus shown here.  
Credit: Wikimedia 
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Much of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is made up of the Kaiparowitz Plateau, which spans more than 50 miles from the town of Escalante. Its sandstone flats hover above the Escalante River.  
Credit: Shamim Mohamed/Wikimedia 
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The 5.5-mile round-trip trail to Calf Creek Falls follows the creek upstream past mineral-stained cliffs of Navajo Sandstone with little elevation gain. It's a moderate hike; the trail is sandy and has some steep sections. You might see prehistoric rock art and granaries on the canyon walls or signs of beaver along the creek. Many birds are attracted here by the streamside vegetation and perennial water. A pleasant campground at the trailhead offers sites with water, except in winter.  
Credit: Wikimedia 
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A 50-mile gravel road cuts through the cliffs on the western side of the national monument, offering access to the upper Paria River. Cottonwood Canyon Road isn't an easy road to traverse and it washes out during heavy rains, but it's the best option for accessing the national monument, and its continuous sweep of unforgettable desert panoramas.  
Credit: Doug Dolde/Wikimedia 
 
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