Cottonwood trees in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
© Jeff Foott/Minden Picture
A pop of autumn gold. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
The Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument is an untamed wilderness of cliffs and canyons nestled in the heart of southern Utah. The Grand Staircase is a fascinating sequence of five majestic sandstone cliffs, rising approximately 1,675 metres across the expanse of the monument. Each step displays a different era in Earth's geologic history, a showcase of time that is unrivalled by any other place on the planet. Archaeologists have found prehistoric artefacts, petrified wood and fossils dating back over 75 million years ago, from the Cretaceous Period. In human history, the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont people mastered the art of farming in this challenging terrain. They ingeniously constructed granaries to store and preserve their bountiful harvests. Today, it is a splendid getaway for nature enthusiasts and travellers seeking adventure.