Fodor's Expert Review Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument
In September 1996, President Bill Clinton designated 1.7 million acres in south-central Utah as Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. Its three distinct sections—the Grand Staircase, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Canyons of the Escalante—offer remote backcountry experiences hard to find elsewhere in the Lower 48. Waterfalls, shoulder-width slot canyons, and improbable colors all characterize this wilderness. Highway 12, which straddles the northern border of the monument, is one of the most scenic stretches in the Southwest. The small towns of Escalante and Boulder offer outfitters, lodging, and dining.