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Grand Staircase Itinerary

Begin your visit to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM) at the Kanab visitor center, which highlights the geology and archaeology of the Grand Staircase. You can also inquire about ATV, hiking, and mountain biking trails here. Then head out on US89 for 32 miles until you reach Cottonwood Canyon Road. From this scenic backway you can visit the Old Paria Movie Set, Cottonwood Wash Narrows, the Cockscomb, and Grosvenor Arch. From here you can either turn around to head back to Kanab, or check out Kodachrome Basin State Park, then loop around to Johnson Canyon/Skutumpah Road and take Bench Road to Glendale.

If you’re starting from Glendale, take the scenic Glendale Bench Road to Johnson Canyon/Skutumpah Road to reach Willis Creek and Lick Wash slot canyons. About ten miles past the Lick Wash Trailhead you’ll reach Bull Valley Gorge, a challenging, full-day hike through one of the deepest, narrowest slot canyons in the GSENM with an unusual feature: an old pickup wedged beneath a bridge of boulders and tree trunks. From here you can either head back to Glendale for the night or make the scenic backcountry drive through Johnson Canyon to Kanab. Along the way you’ll see excellent views of the vermillion, white, and pink steps of the Grand Staircase, and the old Gunsmoke film set.

From Kanab, you can reach the white stone Wahweap Hoodoos on the edge of GSENM by driving east on US89 for about sixty miles. Wahweap Wash is a fairly easy hike although it can be slippery when wet; it’s about four more miles to the second and third cove of hoodoos and a bit more challenging. Head back west for about 12 miles for a short hike to the Rimrock Hoodoos. Spend the night in Kanab and check out Frontier Movie Town, Moqui Cave, and the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Cottonwood Canyon Road and Johnson Canyon/Skutumpah Road are unpaved and may be impassable when wet, so check road conditions and be sure your vehicle is sound and has a full tank of gas before heading out.