Grandstaff Canyon Trail In Utah

Here is everything you need to know about the Grandstaff Canyon Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Utah
  • Length: 2.25 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Grandstaff Canyon Trail, located in Moab, Utah, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by the Ancestral Puebloans, who settled in the region around 2,000 years ago. These Native American tribes left behind a legacy of rock art, dwellings, and artifacts that provide valuable insights into their way of life.

During the 19th century, European settlers began exploring and settling in the Moab area. The Grandstaff Canyon Trail, previously known as Negro Bill Canyon Trail, was named after William Grandstaff, an African American rancher who lived in the region during the late 1800s. Grandstaff, also known as “Negro Bill,” was one of the first non-Native American settlers in the area and played a significant role in the local community.

The trail gained popularity in the early 20th century as a scenic route for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. Its unique geological formations, including towering sandstone cliffs, natural arches, and the picturesque Morning Glory Bridge, attracted visitors from far and wide. Over time, the trail became an important part of Moab’s tourism industry, drawing nature lovers, hikers, and photographers to experience its natural beauty.

Today, the Grandstaff Canyon Trail continues to be a cherished destination for those seeking to explore the region’s history and marvel at its stunning landscapes. The trail’s historical significance, combined with its natural wonders, make it a must-visit location for anyone interested in the rich cultural heritage of Moab, Utah.

While On The Trail

Access Points

The major access points or trailheads along the Grandstaff Canyon Trail are:

1. Moab Rim Trailhead: This is the main trailhead for the Grandstaff Canyon Trail. It is located at the end of Kane Creek Boulevard, about 4 miles south of Moab, Utah.

2. Negro Bill Canyon Trailhead: This trailhead is located about 2 miles east of Moab, Utah, off Highway 128. It provides access to the Grandstaff Canyon Trail from the east side.

3. Fisher Towers Trailhead: Located about 21 miles northeast of Moab, Utah, off Highway 128, this trailhead offers access to the Grandstaff Canyon Trail from the northeast side.

4. Hunter Canyon Trailhead: Situated about 10 miles northeast of Moab, Utah, off Highway 128, this trailhead provides access to the Grandstaff Canyon Trail from the north side.

These are the major access points or trailheads along the Grandstaff Canyon Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Grand Canyon Railway – Historic train ride from Williams, AZ to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
2. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport – Regional airport offering flights to various destinations.
3. Greyhound Bus Station – Bus service connecting Flagstaff to other cities.
4. Flagstaff Amtrak Station – Train station providing service to various locations.
5. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.
6. Flagstaff Taxi – Local taxi service in Flagstaff, AZ.
7. Uber – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
8. Lyft – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
9. Rental Car Companies – Various rental car companies in Flagstaff, AZ.
10. Grand Canyon Shuttle Service – Shuttle service offering transportation to the Grand Canyon National Park.


The amenities available at the Grandstaff Canyon Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailhead where visitors can park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail regulations and permits, there might be designated camping sites available for overnight stays. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or park management for specific information on camping regulations.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop, relax, and enjoy a meal or snack amidst the natural surroundings.

5. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead, there might be additional amenities such as information boards, maps, visitor centers, or ranger stations where visitors can gather information about the trail, safety guidelines, and any specific regulations.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with the local park authorities or visit their official website for the most up-to-date information on the amenities provided at the Grandstaff Canyon Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Red Cliffs Lodge – Rustic lodge offering comfortable accommodations near the trailhead.
– Moab Springs Ranch – Charming vacation rentals with beautiful views, located close to the trail.

2. Food Services:
– The Broken Oar Restaurant – Casual dining spot serving American cuisine, conveniently located near the trail.
– Pasta Jay’s Moab – Italian restaurant offering a variety of pasta dishes, a short drive from the trailhead.

3. Emergency Services:
– Moab Regional Hospital – Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care, located in Moab.
– Moab Valley Fire Department – Local fire department offering emergency response services in the area.

Grandstaff Canyon Trail Difficulty Notes

The Grandstaff Canyon Trail, located in Moab, Utah, offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers. The trail spans approximately 4.1 miles round trip and features a variety of terrain, including sandy paths, rocky sections, and occasional stream crossings. While the trail is relatively well-marked, hikers should be prepared for some steep inclines and uneven surfaces. The highlight of the trail is the stunning Morning Glory Natural Bridge, a 243-foot sandstone arch that provides a breathtaking backdrop for hikers. Overall, the Grandstaff Canyon Trail is a rewarding and manageable hike for those with a moderate level of fitness and hiking experience.

Features And Attractions

The Grandstaff Canyon Trail, also known as the Morning Glory Bridge Trail, is located in Moab, Utah. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Grandstaff Canyon Trail:

1. Morning Glory Natural Bridge: The highlight of the trail, Morning Glory Natural Bridge is a stunning sandstone arch that spans 243 feet. It is one of the largest natural bridges in the area and offers a breathtaking sight.

2. Grandstaff Canyon: The trail follows the scenic Grandstaff Canyon, offering beautiful views of towering red rock cliffs, lush vegetation, and the meandering stream of the Colorado River.

3. Petroglyphs: Along the trail, you can find ancient petroglyphs etched into the sandstone walls. These rock carvings provide a glimpse into the history and culture of the Native American tribes that once inhabited the area.

4. Wildlife: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, lizards, rabbits, and occasionally even larger animals like deer or mountain lions. Keep an eye out for these creatures as you hike.

5. Desert Flora: The trail is lined with a diverse range of desert flora, including cacti, wildflowers, and various shrubs. Depending on the season, you may witness colorful blooms or vibrant fall foliage.

6. Rock Formations: Throughout the hike, you’ll encounter unique rock formations, including towering cliffs, narrow canyons, and interesting geological features. These formations add to the scenic beauty of the trail.

7. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where you can take a break, enjoy a meal, and soak in the surrounding natural beauty.

8. Waterfalls: Depending on the time of year and recent rainfall, you may come across small waterfalls or cascades along the stream that runs through the canyon. These add an extra touch of serenity to the hike.

9. Shade and Coolness: The trail is known for its shade and coolness, making it a popular choice during hot summer months. The towering canyon walls provide relief from the scorching desert sun.

10. Photography Opportunities: The Grandstaff Canyon Trail offers numerous opportunities for photography enthusiasts. From the stunning natural bridge to the vibrant colors of the sandstone cliffs, there are plenty of picturesque scenes to capture.

Remember to check local regulations and trail conditions before embarking on your hike.

Usage Guidelines

– No pets allowed on the Grandstaff Canyon Trail.
– Seasonal restrictions may apply, such as closures during extreme weather conditions or fire danger.
– Visitors are required to stay on designated trails and not venture off into restricted areas.
– Camping or overnight stays are not permitted along the trail.
– Littering is strictly prohibited; visitors must carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
– Open fires are not allowed; only portable stoves or grills with a shut-off valve are permitted for cooking.
– Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles, including minimizing impact on the environment and wildlife.
– Hunting or fishing is not permitted on the trail.
– Visitors should be aware of and respect any cultural or historical sites along the trail.
– It is recommended to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.
– Visitors should be cautious of potential hazards such as steep cliffs, loose rocks, or wildlife encounters.
– All visitors must follow any additional rules or guidelines posted by the managing authority of the Grandstaff Canyon Trail.

Seasonal Information

The Grandstaff Canyon Trail, also known as the Morning Glory Bridge Trail, is a popular hiking destination located near Moab, Utah. This scenic trail offers breathtaking views of towering red rock cliffs, lush vegetation, and the stunning Morning Glory Natural Bridge. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the best times to hike the Grandstaff Canyon Trail is during the spring season, from March to May. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (15-27 degrees Celsius). The trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, making it a picturesque sight. Additionally, the water levels in the creek that runs alongside the trail are usually higher, creating a soothing ambiance.

Another great time to visit the Grandstaff Canyon Trail is in the fall, from September to November. The temperatures during this season are cooler, ranging from the 60s to 70s Fahrenheit (15-25 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for hiking. The autumn foliage adds a stunning array of colors to the landscape, enhancing the overall experience. The trail is less crowded during this time, allowing visitors to enjoy the tranquility and serenity of the canyon.

It is important to note that the Grandstaff Canyon Trail may have seasonal closures due to weather conditions or maintenance. During the winter months, from December to February, the trail can be subject to closures or limited access due to snow and ice. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or visitor center for the latest trail conditions before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, it is recommended to carry sufficient water, wear appropriate footwear, and be cautious of flash floods during any season.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Grandstaff Canyon Trail offers a wheelchair-accessible path that allows individuals with mobility challenges to explore the stunning canyon scenery.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, ensuring convenient access for visitors with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are provided at the trailhead, offering convenience and comfort for all visitors.
4. Trail Surface: The trail features a smooth and well-maintained surface, allowing wheelchair users to navigate easily and enjoy the scenic beauty of the canyon.
5. Rest Areas: Along the trail, there are designated rest areas with benches and accessible seating options, providing opportunities for individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Signage: Clear and visible signage is placed along the trail, including accessible formats, to assist individuals with visual impairments in navigating the path.
7. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the Grandstaff Canyon Trail, ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the necessary support during their visit.
8. Handrails: Handrails are installed at certain sections of the trail, providing additional support and stability for individuals with mobility limitations.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: Accessible picnic areas are available near the trailhead, allowing visitors to enjoy a meal or rest in a comfortable and inclusive environment.
10. Informational Materials: The trail provides accessible information materials, such as brochures or maps in alternative formats, ensuring that individuals with visual impairments can access relevant information about the trail.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or damaging the fragile ecosystem.
2. Carry plenty of water: The desert environment can be extremely hot and dry, so bring enough water to stay hydrated throughout the hike.
3. Dress appropriately: Wear sturdy shoes, a hat, and lightweight, breathable clothing to protect yourself from the sun and rough terrain.
4. Check weather conditions: Be aware of potential flash floods and extreme heat, and plan your hike accordingly.
5. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know your hiking plans, including your expected return time.
6. Bring a map and compass: Familiarize yourself with the trail and carry a map and compass as a backup navigation tool.
7. Watch out for wildlife: Be cautious of snakes, scorpions, and other desert creatures; maintain a safe distance and avoid disturbing them.
8. Pack essential supplies: Carry a first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, and snacks to ensure your safety and comfort during the hike.
9. Hike with a buddy: It’s always safer to hike with a companion, especially in remote areas.
10. Respect the environment: Leave no trace by properly disposing of trash and avoiding damage to plants and wildlife.

Conservation Notes

The Grandstaff Canyon Trail, located in Utah, is currently designated as a conservation area due to its unique ecological and geological features. This trail is situated within the Colorado Plateau region, which is known for its stunning red rock formations and diverse desert flora and fauna. The conservation status of the Grandstaff Canyon Trail ensures the protection and preservation of its natural resources, allowing visitors to experience its beauty while minimizing human impact on the delicate ecosystem.

The trail is home to a variety of plant species, including desert shrubs, cacti, and wildflowers, which have adapted to the arid conditions of the region. These plants play a crucial role in stabilizing the soil, preventing erosion, and providing habitat for numerous animal species. The conservation status of the Grandstaff Canyon Trail ensures that these plants are not disturbed or removed, allowing them to thrive and contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.

Furthermore, the trail provides habitat for a range of wildlife, including reptiles, birds, and mammals. Species such as lizards, snakes, and rabbits can be spotted along the trail, while birds like hawks and owls soar above the canyon walls. The conservation status of the Grandstaff Canyon Trail helps protect these animals and their habitats, ensuring that they can continue to live and reproduce undisturbed. By preserving the natural environment of the trail, conservation efforts aim to maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem and safeguard the biodiversity of the area.

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