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The Beauty of Nature's Grand Staircase

national parks
Colorful rock formations are among the attractions at the Grand Staircase Escalante-National Monument in Utah. (Image credit: Chris Trout, Bureau of Land Management )

Grand Staircase Escalante-National Monument in southern Utah spans nearly 1.9 million acres of public lands. It’s named for the spectacular Grand Staircase of cliffs and terraces, across the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau.

The monument is named not for the thin striations seen in this image, but for the way the Grand Staircase consists of a series of topographic benches and cliffs.

The region has yielded fossils of dinosaurs and other creatures from more than 75 million years ago. Rock formations range in age from Permian to Cretaceous and date back 200 million years.The area became a national monument in 1996.