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Grand Staircase Turns 20!

This year, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument turns 20! This monument in Utah attracts both adventurers, sight-seers and researchers from all around the world. This fall, the public is invited to join in on any one of the many celebratory events celebrating its birthday. Enjoy their Artist-in-Residence program, the Science Forums, or a day of scenic hiking! The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is the perfect location for those who love mountain biking, hunting, fishing, hiking, and canyoneering. With its immense and diverse terrain, there is something unique and exciting for all ages and experience levels to enjoy!

20th Birthday Celebrations
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument celebrates it official 20th birthday on September 18th, 2016. Anyone is invited to join in on the festivities, taking place at the Visitors Center. There are four centers located in Big Water, Kanab, Cannonville and Escalante, UT.  This celebration is a can’t miss event for anyone who loves the outdoors, the Wild West and the beautiful, extreme landscape of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

Calf Creek Falls Hike
On September 24th, National Public Lands Day, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument strips its fees for hikers and lets attendees of the Escalante Canyons Art Festival participate in the 1st Annual Lower Calf Creek Falls hike for free! Join in on a 6-mile roundtrip hike to and back from an astounding 126-foot waterfall. During the hike, visitors will learn all about the park’s efforts to Respect & Protect its sacred natural and cultural resources.

Artist in Residence Program
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument features two artist-in-residence opportunities each year in order to promote awareness of the astonishing beauty of the natural landscape as well as the preservation of important cultural possessions. The program takes place during May in Kanab, UT as well as in September during the Escalante Canyons Art Festival. The Plein Air Artist-in-Residence Painting Exhibition will be held on September 23-24 and is free to the public. The paintings on display promote a sincere appreciation for and deeper knowledge of the cultural, and historic resources of the Escalante Canyons. During the Spring, there are numerous workshops held with musicians, writers and visual artists in collaboration with the Amazing Earthfest.

Artists in Residence Salute: Honoring Veterans
Veterans are invited to apply for “Pioneer Craft House’s Veterans Healing Through Art” program. Through this week-long program, veterans will craft a Native American-style flute using hand tools while Bill Hughes, an expert flute maker, teaches the fundamentals of music.

Visitors Center Open Houses
Another free event to celebrate Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s 20th birthday features a number of open houses at the Visitor Centers. These open house events will highlight the knowledge gained about the planet’s past from the last 20 years of research conducted at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Science Forum
From August 2-4, the public is invited to participate in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Science Forum. Learn from Monument staff, paleontologists, and more! These events will let visitors learn all about the last 10 years of research at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Other Grand-Staircase Activities

Escalante Canyons Art Festival
In September, visit Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to celebrate art at the 13th Annual Escalante Canyons Art Festival. Enjoy the speaker series’, exhibits, demonstrations, live music and arts and craft sales. The festival hosts painting competitions along with demonstrations and workshops.

Rock Climbing & Canyoneering
Most of the areas suited for rock climbing and canyoneering in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are in the Wilderness Study Areas. Neon Canyon is one of the most popular locations for technical canyoneering located near the Golden Cathedral, a stunning, domed pour-off from the upper canyon where the water has carved out three different arches into the overhang. When the sun is directly above, the light pours down in long, golden streaks. Adventurers can rappel down curved, colorful rocks that lead down to the Escalante River.

Horseback Riding
Experience the majesty of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on horseback! Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Utah’s immense national park as you gallop through the backcountry with the wind blowing freely through your hair. The varied terrain in this area provides a unique opportunity for all experience levels, with trails great for beginners and others suited for more seasoned riders.

Don’t miss your chance to experience the marvelous backcountry on foot. There are a number of day hikes at the Grand Staircase and Escalante Canyons that range from easy to strenuous hikes. There are a few multi-day hikes for those wishing to camp along the way as well. Cottonwood Narrows, one of the most popular hikes in the Grand Staircase, is a 2.5 mile trek through tall Navajo Sandstone canyons. The route includes a 5-10 foot drop and an easy climb over a rockfall. In the Escalante Canyons, may hikers choose the Covered Wagon Natural Bridge and Cedar Wash Arch trail. This path features stunning views of the Covered Wagon Natural Bridge’s 24 foot span, and the incredible natural arch nearby.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is filled with the kind of diverse cultural and historical resources that draws in nature-lovers, canyon climbing experts and paleontologists! You can find adventure, knowledge and quiet all within this beautiful, wondrous monument. Celebrate the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s 20th birthday by visiting the park this fall!


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