48 wonders of the West

These national monuments and other treasures will make you fall in love with the West all over again

Top 9 National Monuments

Build a great vacation around a spectacular island, forest, cliff dwelling, canyon, fossil bed, tower, or volcano

National Monuments: Grand Staircase, Utah
Photo by Tom Till

Grand Staircase National Monument, Utah

The "staircase" in the name is a vast series of rock terraces. The "Escalante" is Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante, the 18th century Spanish explorer who started the habit of being awed and amazed by the landscape here: cliffs and hoodoos and the sinuous canyons of the Paria and Escalante rivers.

In Southern Utah due east of Zion National Park, Grand Staircase National Monument is so big—1.9 million acres—that it would take a lifetime to discover it all.

Explore it by car on Utah Highway 12 and Hole-in-the-Rock Road; even better, get out and hike to Calf Creek Falls or Devil’s Garden. Numerous outfitters lead jeep and hiking trips into the area; for creature comforts, you’ll find good food and places to stay in Boulder and Escalante. More

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