grand staircase national monument


Exploring the deserts of Arizona and Utah, with multiple national parks, just as the seasons turn to fall. The nights get a little crisp, the days are still sunny and hot.

Sat in Zebra Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT

Not the usual hiking gear, but the whole water element was a surprise, and we weren’t going to turn back after finding this place. We hiked through in just our underwear with no boots on, often reaching water that was chest-high. For the middle of summer, the water was surprisingly chilly, but it just added to the crazy experience. An unforgettable day amongst a summer of unforgettable days, 2014. 


It’s easy to see why Lower Calf Creek Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, designated 20 years ago today. The hike traverses a lush streamside oasis that bisects the dramatic and harsh bedrock landscape east of the community of Escalante. Observant hikers on the 6 mile round-trip trek can spot pictographs and rock granaries perched on the opposite canyon walls as they wind up the cottonwood lined canyon. The hike is relatively level, but stretches of soft sand make it moderately strenuous.  

At the end, the reward is a picture-perfect 126 foot cascade over a red-rock cliff. The green and yellow colors that line the contours of the column of water came from algae growing on the sandstone that thrive on the falls’ year-round flow.  A must for your bucketlist!

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Time lapse videos of sunrises, sunsets, and the night sky over the landscapes of the US west, including Yosemite, the Colorado River, the White Pocket at Vermillion Cliffs, and Joshua Tree National Park. I particularly enjoyed the shots of the shadows moving up and down the landscape at dawn and dusk. From the original video caption:

This short movie presents the predictability of our planetary system. Catch the first sun rays brushing over Half Dome in Yosemite. Watch the Moon setting to the West while the Milky Way is rising to the South East over Arizona. Follow the Milky Way spanning across the night sky, giving us just a glimpse of what else may be out there. Observe as the shadows are getting longer, and the Milky Way is rising from behind the moonlit landscape. Catch the Supermoon rising over Rodgers Peak and Half Dome.

 Hidden Oasis at Coyote Gulch (Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument)                                                    by Alex Mironyuk

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Welcome to #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016, Week 2 – Our Camping Picks for Amazing Sunsets, Starry Skies and Smores!

Last week, we kicked off another summer roadtrip with Places That Rock – Caves, Volcanoes, Hoodoos and More.  Check out the interactive recap of Week 1 in our Places That Rock @esri storymap journal:

From June 20-26, #mypubliclandsroadtrip sets up camp on BLM-managed lands for beautiful sunsets, clear and starry skies, and endless outdoor fun. Follow along all week as we add new places to the #mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016 map and Our Camping Picks storymap journal


Happy 120th birthday to Utah, our 45th state! 

The BLM manages nearly 22.9 million acres of public lands in Utah, from the snow-capped peaks of remote mountain ranges to colorful red-rock canyons. Visit these stunning lands in 2016 for one-of-a-kind hikes, floats, camping and more! #getoutdoors  


Celebrate National #TakeAHikeDay by Exploring Your Public Lands!

Visitors enjoy countless types of outdoor adventure – not just hiking – on the approximately 250 million acres of BLM-managed public lands in the United States.

In an increasingly urbanized West, these recreational opportunities in beautiful natural landscapes are vital to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of western states, as well as national and international visitors.

Photos by BLMer Bob Wick.