First Light on the Circle Cliffs Anticline

September 01, 2022

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PhotographerThomas McGuire 

Summary Author: Thomas McGuire 

Baseball player Yogi Berra was famous for quotations such as “It’s so crowed, nobody goes there anymore.” Perhaps they shouldn’t.

While places such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite host crowds that often overrun the facilities, as well as overrunning the visitor experience, other scenic sites in the United States are, arguably, just as beautiful and virtually undiscovered. One such place is the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Both the variety of landforms and the expansive size make this a crown of the hidden jewels.

The Circle Cliffs is an anticline in which the central portion has been eroded down, while exposing the youngest layer as cliffs that surround the internal valley. This anticline encompasses hundreds of square miles of juniper, dotted high desert. In most of the Monument, facilities are non-existent. The Burr Trail is a paved road that crosses the Circle Cliffs Valley. Other roads are unpaved.

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Geology of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah: Hellmut H. Doelling, Robert E. Blackett, Alden H. Hamblin, J. Douglas Powell, and Gayle L. Pollock


Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah Coordinates: 37.4609, -111.5943


Related Links:


The Grand Staircase


Waterpocket Fold in Capital Reef National Park (The eastern edge of the Circle Cliffs)


Author’s Earth Science Textbooks