Grosvenor Arch is one Back Country Ramble that no one should go without seeing. The Arch is set in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and is surrounded by beauty on every side. Grosvenor Arch is set in the middle of the Grand Staircase Nation Monument and to me is one of the highlights of the monument (of course not getting into the politics of the monument itself). When standing beneath this towering arch you can see the pink cliffs of Bryce Canyon, you drive by Kodachrome State Park, and are well on your way to Cottonwood Canyon and the Wahweep, all places that need to be a mark on your map as places to see.
According to the US Geologic Survey Grosvenor Arch is 152 feet high and 99 feet wide. The roughly 11 miles of rough road out to Grosvenor Arch can be a little treacherous in bad weather however, even in good weather I recommend a four wheel drive vehicle. If you choose not to take my advice on that at least take me on this, no question, a high clearance vehicle with good suspension is a necessity. Once you leave the trail head at the Kodachrome turnoff, and hit the dirt road that leads to Grovenor Arch, you will learn to appreciate or hate your vehicles ride. I don\’t know if its the state, county or the BLM, but whomever it is, they have given up on doing much maintenance on this road. None the less this massive geologic treasure is well worth the beating it takes to get out there.
Like many other great natural treasures in the U.S. Grosvenor Arch has a back story. I must state that I am a little bias due to the fact that this Back Country Ramble is close to a place I call my second home,but none the less I will tell the story that I know, take it or leave it. Grosvenor Arch really came into the spot light or to be well known to those outside of Garfield County, from the 1949 National Geographic article, \”First Motor Sortie into Escalante Land\”. This article documents the trip of a group of people exploring the back country searching for the unknown (or at least unknown to them). They stumbled upon what is now known as Kodachrome State Park and Grosvenor Arch. In the article it states that they asked the locals if there were any arches in the area and the locals told them none that they knew of. So with this mind set they set to make their mark on history.
The first place they \”found\” was Kodachrome. This is an excerpt from one of the people on the trip about the place, \”It was a beautiful and fantastic country. A mile to the left near the base of the cliff I could see red pinnacles thrust up from the valley floor. The few natives who had been here called this area \”Thorny Pasture,\” But we renamed it \”Kodachrome Flat\” because of the astonishing variety of contrasting colors in the formations\”. As a photographer I guess I can appreciate the excitement of the variety of colors so I guess I can cut some slack. This next line to me is a treasure, \”Our highest expectations were soon realized. What we saw was an arch–a new arch uncharted and unnamed!\”. The reason that I like this line is because I know a lot of the locals and all of them new the place as Wahweep Arch, however I guess that was not glamorous enough for these new travelers into the established countryside of Garfield County. The following line from the National Geographic article describes the scene better than I could so I will just quote it here, \”This striking natural bridge is carved from creamy rock, a rarity in a land of brilliant reds. Actually, it is a double arch, with the larger span on the end of a buttress that juts from the main sandstone butte. Near the anchor end, wind has blasted a smaller hole through the buttress.\”
Well now if that doesnt get you stoked to go and visit this incredible geologic formation I don\’t know what would. So next time you plan your trip to Bryce Canyon make sure that you take the detour through Cannonville and head on down the road to see the amazing Wahweep Arch or as its more commonly known, Grosvenor Arch.
Wahweep, Cottonwood Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Kodachrome State Park, Round Valley Narrows,
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As a side note I have found the National Geographic Magazine with this article and have purchased it. When it arrives I will scan some of the pictures and possibly the article and post it here. Also as I go back and visit Grosvenor Arch I will add more pictures