Granstaff Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 8.1km
  • 177m
  • 2.5-3h
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This quintessential Moab trail leads up a tight cliff lined valley to the Morning Glory Bridge, a stunning natural arc spanning 243 feet (75m)! This mostly level hike has few climbs and plenty of shade, making it great for families in the heat of summer.

Getting there

From Moab drive north along the 191 for 2.5 miles (4 km) until you reach the first highway junction. Turn right onto the 128 east (this junction is before you cross the Colorado River). Continue along this highway for 3.3 miles (5.3 km) until you reach the signed parking lot for the Granstaff Trail on your right (directly across from the Granstaff Campground).

elevation

Total Gain: 177m

About

Type of Hike Out and Back
Crowd Levels Quiet to Moderate
Route Signage Good
Toilets Yes
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds Yes
When to Do Year Round

 Detailed Description

Begin this well signposted trail at the end of the parking lot, where you will find a pit toilet as well as a large sign warning about poison ivy. If you are bringing your furry friend on this hike, keep them close as they can pickup the affecting chemical on their fur or hair and transfer it onto you.

The path remains mostly flat for the entirety of the hike, only gaining a small amount of elevation a couple of times. Additionally the trail is shaded for the most part, making is especially enjoyable on hot, cloudless days. You will follow a stream up the canyon, crossing it several times. None of these stream crossings are strenuous, and all of them have logs or rocks to make sure you don’t have to remove your boots.

At roughly the halfway point, the trail will branch to the left at a fork of two canyons. As you continue you will hike below gorgeous sandstone cliffs with coloured streaks running up and down their faces. Across the canyon, smooth slick-rock formations will be visible. From here there are a handful of short climbs until you reach the Morning Glory Bridge. Towards the end of the hike you will emerge from the shrubs and trees to a slick-rock section. From here the majestic Arch is clearly visible.

The Morning Glory Bridge is a whopping 243 feet (75 m)  long, and essentially creates a cave at the end of the Granstaff Canyon. The cool shade it provides offers a fantastic place to have a break and a snack at the end of the hike! The canyon is named after the cowboy William Granstaff, a notorious prospector who controlled much of the land around Moab in the 1870s. Return to your car the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • Bring trekking poles to help with the stream crossings if you are unsteady
  • We suggest doing this hike near the end of the day, when the light on the rock is the best. There are also nice places to have a picnic dinner right beside the parking lot, looking into the canyon.