Grand Staircase Adventure Guide
Top Adventure Hikes in the Grand Staircase Region
The Grand Staircase area is the most remote and seldom-visited section of the Glen Canyon region. It is spectacular and contains the most extensive network of slot canyons in Utah. Most of the hikes are off-trail, following dry, easily passable washes through some of the finest narrows in the region. Some of the best longer day hikes and potential backpack trips are included here.
The extreme heat of summer and the unrelenting sun pose serious hazards to hikers. Any seasoned desert hiker knows you cannot fight the desert heat, but you can adapt to it. In summer, hike from the pre-dawn hours until early morning, then rest in the shade during the hottest part of the day. Resume your travels after 5 p.m., when shadows begin to fill the canyons.
As always when hiking in the desert, it’s important to bring enough water—assume there won’t be any place to fill up along the way. And as always, it’s a good idea to stop in at a visitor center and discuss your hiking plans with the folks working there. You are sure to get some good tips and assistance finding a hike that suits your abilities.
1. Yellow Rock/The Box of the Paria River: 6.8 miles. This trip, recommended only for experienced hikers with good routefinding skills, offers a memorable blend of slickrock, mesa top, and canyon landscapes, including tremendous far-ranging vistas.
2. Lick Wash to No Mans Mesa: 12 miles. This rigorous hike follows the dramatic canyon of Lick Wash to the valley of Park Wash, then ascends what remains of the goat trail to No Mans Mesa.
3. Mollies Nipple: 10 miles. Punctuating the uniform landscape of Grand Staircase, the landmark cone of Mollies Nipple is an anomaly, a mountain-like peak standing alone in a land of mesas, cliffs, and canyons.
4. Paria Movie Set to Buckskin Gulch: 8.4 miles. This is a demanding day hike for experienced hikers only, as it involves an ascent of the Vermilion Cliffs to Starlight Arch.
5. Middle Route to Buckskin Gulch: 2.8 miles. The Middle Route offers a short, no-nonsense approach to the lower reaches of Buckskin Gulch, a spectacular slot canyon.
Explore top adventure hikes in the nearby Escalante Canyons region.