Cougar Ridge

Day Trip Spotlight: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Jul 31, 2022 | Surrounding Area, Things to do in Utah | 0 comments

There’s so much to see and do when you stay at Cougar Ridge that you might not travel far outside Torrey, Utah during your visit. But one thing that makes us one of the best vacation rentals Torrey UT has to offer is our location. Capitol Reef National Park is just a hop away from our ranch. There are also many other state parks, national parks, monuments, and more located just a few hour’s drive away.

One popular day trip for our guests is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Located in Kanab, Utah, this often-overlooked monument covers as much land as the entire state of Delaware. It’s home to a variety of unique landscapes, including expensive desserts, towering sandstone arches, waterfalls, and more.

Looking for a unique day trip to enjoy during your next stay at the best 5-star resort Utah has to offer? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

What is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument?

Grand Staircase-Escalante is a national monument located in Southern Utah. Named a national monument in 1996 by a Presidential Proclamation from President Bill Clinton, it gets its name from the many plateaus located in the park.

The monument is divided into three distinct regions; Escalante Canyon, Kaiparowits, and Grand Staircase. It’s managed by the Bureau of Land Management or BLM. In fact, Grand Staircase-Escalante was actually the first national monument managed by the BLM and continues to be the largest. The land where the monument is located is some of the most remote in the country and was the last part of the contiguous U.S. to be mapped.

Where is it Located?

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is located in Kanab, Utah, just under an hour from Cougar Ridge. It covers more than 1.7 million acres across Southern Utah, though, making it impossible to explore the entire thing. 

The Escalante Canyons region of the national monument is the closest to Torrey, making it a great choice for those looking for a quick day trip.

Things to Do In Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 


Hiking is a great way to experience the national monument. The Calf Creek Recreation Area is a popular destination for hiking. Once used as a natural pen for calves in the 1800s and early 1900s, the area became a popular destination for tourists when the national monument was formed. Today, you can take the moderately difficult 5.84-mile round trip hike to the Calf Creek Falls. There are two falls here, each with a separate pool. The Upper Calf Creek Falls are 88 feet high, while the more popular Lower Calf Creek Falls are 130 feet high.

Those looking for a shorter, but no less stunning hike should head to Grosvenor Arch. This 150-foot-high arch spans 92 feet across and is located in the national monument. The arch is near the edge of a sandstone ridge and is accessible via a short hike on a dirt path.

Scenic Drives

The massive size of the national monument means that visitors won’t see much on foot. Taking a scenic drive is a great way to experience more of the monument’s incredible landscapes. 

If you’re starting from Torrey, Burr Trail is a great scenic drive to start with. This trail was first developed as a cattle trail. Today, it’s one of Utah’s most beautiful drives. The road includes a mix of pavement, gravel, and dirt sections, and passes through Grand Staircase-Escalante before continuing on through Capitol Reef National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. In total, the road is around 70 miles, and takes around 3 hours to drive, though you can still enjoy incredible views by driving just a section of the roadway.

Slot Canyons

If you have canyoneering experience or want to try it for the first time via a guided tour, Grand Staircase-Escalante is a great place to start. The monument is home to two of the most popular slot canyons in Utah; Spooky Gulch and Peek-a-boo Gulch. These slot canyons are close enough to hike both in the same day.


Grand Staircase-Escalante also offers some off-road vehicle access for those looking for a more heart-pounding adventure. Fiftymile Bench is an off-road trail that’s around 27 miles roundtrip, with more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain. 

Choosing the Best Vacation Rentals Torrey UT Has to Offer

Booking a stay at the best vacation rentals Torrey UT has to offer makes it easy to enjoy day trips to Grand Staircase-Escalante, as well as the other incredible national and state parks the region has to offer.

Cougar Ridge is the perfect basecamp for your Southern Utah adventure. Ready to start planning your next adventure? Book your private villa today!

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