Rock Climbing and Canyoneering
Rock climbing and canyoneering are allowed in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, subject to zone and other specific management restrictions.
Climbing and canyoneering are not allowed in archaeological sites, on natural bridges or arches, or within identified threatened and endangered species nesting areas. Seasonal closures are in effect annually in Long Canyon and at Chimney Rock to prevent disturbance of nesting and fledging raptors from March 1st – August 31st.
Fixed anchor (e.g. bolt) restrictions in Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs)
The majority of areas suitable for climbing and canyoneering in the Monument are located within Wilderness Study Areas. Since wilderness preservation is part of BLM’s multiple-use mandate, WSAs are managed so as to not impair the suitability of such areas for preservation as wilderness. Non-impairment means that activities within WSAs must be both temporary and create no new surface disturbance. Bolts and other fixed anchors do not meet these criteria. Therefore they are not allowed in WSAs.
According to BLM Manual 6330 – Management of BLM Wilderness Study Areas, “Rock climbing and caving are allowed as long as these activities meet the non-impairment criteria. The placement of permanent fixed anchors (e.g., bolts) or artificial holds is not allowed unless it meets one of the exceptions to the non-impairment standard, e.g. for emergencies, such as search and rescue operations. Any impacts from emergency actions must be restored to a substantially unnoticeable condition following the emergency situation. Generally, fixed anchors placed prior to FLPMA (Federal Land Policy Management Act, 1976) will not be removed unless their presence creates—directly or indirectly—impacts that exceed the non-impairment standard.”
Climbers are highly encouraged to check in at one of the Monument’s four visitor centers (Big Water, Kanab, Cannonville or Escalante) to get the latest climbing information.
Climbers interested in working with GSENM staff to identify climbing areas and develop specific management plans for them should contact Ranger Bob Stevenson at 435-826-5603, or via e-mail, “firstname.lastname@example.org.”