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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, March 05, 2012

Explore Grand Staircase On Horseback

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument includes a vast area of remote land in south-central Utah. With only a few roads and some 1.9 million acres of land in the monument, there are hundreds of thousands of acres that are difficult to explore.

Some of Utah’s great jeep roads and hiking trails are found here, along with countless routes that are excellent for horseback trail rides.

Salt Lake Tribune reporter Brett Prettyman has published this interesting article about horseback riding in the monument. Below are excerpts and also a video he posted on youtube.

Horsing around on Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

There is perhaps no better way to see the monument than from the back of a horse, just like the first Europeans did.

“We get a lot of ‘wows’ and ‘oh my gods,’ ” said Norm Neilson, a wrangler leading guided horseback rides on the monument and around Bryce Canyon through Ruby’s Inn. “You really realize what a special place it is when you get to witness people seeing it for the first time on a regular basis.”

“The slot canyons are always fun to visit. There are places where you can ride in and reach out with both hands and touch walls while sitting in your saddle,” said Poe, who also volunteers as president of the Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, a friends group of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. “You need to be careful because you need more room to turn around a horse and you can quickly run out of canyon.”

Vehicles and bicycles must stay on establish roads in the monument so horseback riding or hiking are the only ways to venture off the road.

Private parties are allowed to ride the monument, but free permits are required for overnight excursions and are available at one of the visitor centers located on the edges of Grand Staircase-Escalante. They are in Big Water, Cannonville, Escalante and Kanab.

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