Travel Information, Tours and Lodging
Driving Distance from Grand Staircase Escalante to Grand Canyon
Note: Distances are to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, UT.
- Grand Staircase to Grand Canyon North Rim is 80 miles, a 1 hour 30-minute drive.
- Grand Staircase to Grand Canyon East Rim is 78 miles, a 1 hour 30-minute drive.
- Grand Staircase to Grand Canyon South Rim is 224 miles, a 4 hour drive.
- Grand Staircase to Grand Canyon West Rim is 328 miles, a 5-hour 15-minute drive.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Tours
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a land of hiking, exploring, canyoneering and scenic backroads. Although there are not a lot of local outfitters there are some great guided tours and you can see some tours that we recommend below. The hikes and slot canyons within the Monument are world class and it is quite likely you won’t see anyone else on many of the trails, unlike hiking the Grand Canyon. For those of you with 4WD or high clearance you can take a leisurely drive down one of many amazingly scenic dirt roads, or cruise Route 12 the main highway through the Staircase. Taking out an ATV is also popular, and there are many roads to explore. For peddle powered adventures there are some great mountain biking trails and some popular road bike routes within the Monument. During years with high snowfall, it is also possible to raft the Escalante River, but do a little research before you head out as this is not an established trip like Grand Canyon Rafting.
Best Hotels near Grand Staircase
There are many small lodges and B&B’s dotting Grand Staircase but you will find the most options in the towns of Escalante and Tropic. Boulder, Utah has a very popular eco-lodge, and a few other lodging options that make for a great stay before heading to your Grand Canyon lodging. Right up the road in Torrey, Utah is the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park and several hotels and lodges. You can check out some popular area lodges below. Tropic, Escalante and Torrey all have RV parks and campgrounds. As far as tent camping there are many options from developed campgrounds, to primitive backcountry campsites.
Area Car Rental Options
Grand Staircase Car Rentals- You can hire private shuttles that go to the Staircase, but you really need your own vehicle (preferably a 4X4) to explore this area. There are no rental agencies in the Monument, but nearby Cedar City or St George do have car rentals if you don’t pick one up at the airport. Many of the roads through Grand Staircase are dirt, especially roads that lead to the amazing hikes and slot canyons throughout the Monument but, even with a car you can still drive Scenic Hwy 12 and enjoy the Staircase and nearby Bryce and Capitol Reef. There are also local outfitters that will shuttle you to trailheads.
Grand Staircase Shuttles- There are a few companies that offer shuttles to the Grand Staircase, but most of the local shuttles cater to hikers and backpackers within the Staircase.
Closest Airports to Grand Staircase
The closest major airport to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, while Salt Lake City is a close second. Cedar City, Utah is a little over 1.5 hours away and has delta connection flights. St George UT at about 2.5 hours away has daily flights from Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
Best Restaurants and Dining Options
Most of the small towns within the Monument have some options for restaurants and groceries, but you’ll find the best selection in Tropic, Escalante, and Torrey. The Boulder Mountain lodge, in Boulder has the best Restaurant around, but it is pricey.
Weather and Climate
Grand Staircase Escalante has a temperate desert climate with an average annual rainfall of 10 inches, and snowfall of about 30 inches. Summer days can be hot with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in lower elevations, while nights are generally cool down to the 60’s or 70’s. Summer also brings heavy thunderstorms that can wash out roads. Spring and fall are the best time to visit the Monument with warm days and cool nights. Early September through October offer some of the best weather because of the temperature and lack of precipitation. Winter temperature drop below freezing at night, with day time highs in the 40’s on average. The winter season is also when the most precipitation falls in the area.