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Grandstaff Canyon

Trail follows perennial clear stream in a scenic redrock canyon and ends at Morning Glory Natural Bridge, 243 feet long and the sixth-longest natural rock span in the United States.

photo: Morning Glory Natural Bridge

Length: 2.25 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry
Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Rock Climbing

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Location: Off Utah Scenic Byway 128, three miles east of junction with U.S. 191 in Moab, Utah.
State(s): Utah
Counties: Grand
Longitude: -109.5325
Latitude: 38.6089

Driving Directions

From Moab, Utah, drive 2 miles north to junction with SR 128, turn right and head east 3 miles to signed parking lot at trailhead.

Description

The canyon and trail are named after William Grandstaff, an early African American settler of the region. Grandstaff arrived in Utah in 1877, and settled for a short time north of Moab. He was one of the first non-Native American settlers in the area. There is little recorded history of his time in the Moab area, but it is surmised that he ran cattle in the canyon bearing his name. He later moved to the Glenwood Springs, Colorado, area, where his grave can be found.

The trail follows a perennial clear stream for two miles along the canyon bottom. The trail is in a classic riparian setting rare in the desert region of Moab. The canyon itself empties into the Colorado River, and is directly across from Arches National Park. The trail is surrounded by high sandstone cliffs its entire length. The trail crosses the stream several times, and provides opportunities for wading in its clear, shallow waters. The canyon is a popular destination for school groups from Moab as part of the area’s environmental education programs. Besides local school groups, educational institutions from across the United States visit the canyon under BLM authorization. It is very popular for hikers with dogs; bags and receptacles for dog waste are provided at the trailhead.

The trail ends at Morning Glory Natural Bridge, 243 feet long and the sixth-longest natural rock span in the United States. This bridge is popular with canyoneers, who rappel from the span (accessible by another trail up canyon from the Bridge). Almost the entire trail lies within the Grandstaff Canyon Wilderness Study Area. The trail is well-marked, and suitable for all ages. Children are attracted to its amphibian life, especially crayfish. A paved parking lot with restrooms is at the trailhead, along with interpretive signs. The trail is easily accessible from the popular tourist destination of Moab, which ample tourist and recreation infrastructure. Besides the trail itself, the area offers a wide array of recreation activities, not only on BLM lands but also at two adjacent National Parks and one State Park.

The trail's popularity presents several management challenges that the Moab BLM is addressing. The trail is continuously monitored by BLM personnel. Visitor education regarding the proper disposal of dog waste is prominently displayed on the entrance kiosk. BLM park rangers employ the services of volunteer groups at least one per year for ongoing trail maintenance. BLM continues to track visitor experiences through review of trail register comments. To date, despite the trail's popularity, very few comments have been posted regarding overcrowding on the trail. BLM will continue to monitor visitor experiences, and consider strategies to mitigate crowding should the need arise.

Additional Details

Width: 36 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil, Compacted
Secondary Surface: Rock, smooth
Sand
Water, still

Average Grade: 4%
Maximum Grade: 15%
Elevation Low Point: 3,984
Elevation High Point: 4,381
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
2020

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Bill Stevens
Outdoor Recreation planner
Bureau of Land Management
82 E Dogwood
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-2100
[email protected]

 

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