Grandstaff Canyon

A wonderful half day hike alongside a rare perennial stream in a beautiful canyon to a huge natural bridge.

★★★★

Wow factor

★★★★

Overall rating

★★

Difficulty

★★★★★

Trailhead access

★★

Crowds

It’s named after William Grandstaff, a black prospector and rancher who grazed his cattle here back in the 19th century.

 

I’ve hiked this 4 mile out and back trail many times and rarely seen more than a dozen people on any day. (Some guide books will tell you it’s popular with locals but you wouldn’t know it – maybe I’ve avoided weekends.) This is a box canyon and Morning Glory bridge is at the very end of the second side canyon on the right. It has a span of 243ft, making it the 6th longest natural rock span in the US.

 

From the signed trailhead on UT128, the trail is well marked and constructed in some places. There are plenty of shady spots to rest up and a few shallow stream crossings. The trail undulates but gradually reaches a higher elevation. Look out for small crawfish and water snakes in the stream, and beware poison ivy under the bridge. I once saw a black widow spider sunning itself on the canyon wall.

 

A trail marker points the way to the bridge near the end of the trail. Some people miss the bridge as it sits close to the canyon wall and blends in. Beneath it you’ll usually find a small pool, fed by an underground spring. Perfect for cooling off your hot feet.

 

Even if you only have a free hour or so, it’s just nice to spend some time here in this oasis in the desert.

© 2015-2020 Bob Palmer.