The Grand Staircase National Monument is a popular spot for seasoned wilderness hikers, but its otherworldly beauty, unique landscape and breathtaking natural vistas appeal to less experienced hikers as well as road trippers. The Grand Staircase Escalante is a massive national monument, stretching from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the High Plateaus of Utah. As such, there are many roads that weave in and out of the park from all directions.
The Grand Staircase National monument encompasses 1.9 million acres of land and is divided into three distinct sections or regions. The Escalante Canyons, Kaiparowits Plateau, and Grand Staircase districts make up the entirety of the monument, the Grand Staircase is also flanked by some of the most well-loved parks in the country.
Popular roads interlacing in the monument include Bench Road, Skutumpah Road, Johnson Canyon Road and Cottonwood Canyon Road. Bench Road is a popular route as it is accessible for two wheel drive vehicles and is located on highway 89. Skutumpah Road is more of a challenge, but the rough thirty four mile dirt and gravel passage leads to some fantastic slot canyon hikes.
Johnson Canyon Road reaches between Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona. The road is partially paved until it intersects with Skutumpah Road. Johnson Canyon Road is especially popular because it goes by the old movie set for 1960’s Gun Smoke.
Cottonwood Canyon Road is a 46 mile dirt road that is generally passable year round, although it can be challenging when the surface is wet, however it does cruise through some very cool spots including Grosvenor Arch, old filming locations and Cottonwood Slot Canyon.
Aside from back roading adventures, you can also drive through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on paved roads and highways. Scenic Highway 12 is a popular choice for travelers and makes for a wonderful visit from the comfort of your vehicle.