Hiking the Grandstaff Trail to Morning Glory Arch

March 27, 2018

Our family has been trying for years to finish the Grandstaff Trail near Moab, Utah. There was always something stopping us. Once we went rather spontaneously, and then we discovered we didn’t have enough water to finish the trip. A couple times we took our dog, who just wasn’t physically able to finish it. And one time our daughter fell into the water, got her pants wet, was mad, and didn’t want to hike any further.

We were even trying to finish it back when it had the unfortunate name of Negro Bill Canyon Trail. The trail is now more appropriately named after the African-American prospector named William Grandstaff who grazed livestock here in the late 19th century.

So this year our kids decided that we needed to get to the end of this out-and-back trail to see the prize at the end, the Morning Glory Arch. We felt a little bad going without our dog, Roxy, who loves to go on hikes but is too old to hike that far. Read on to see how we made sure a part of her made it to the end, too.

This post should not serve as a trail guide, but I hope it lures you into wanting to hike the trail!

(You can read about our week-long trip to Moab, Utah in this post.)

Why hike the Grandstaff Trail?

The Grandstaff trail is a 4.6 mile round-trip out-and-back hike. It is a moderately challenging hike on the grand scheme of things. We are not in super fit condition, and we were able to do it with plenty of water. I will say that it was probably only 67 degrees F, and we were really hot. I can’t imagine trying this (or any) hike in Moab in the summer!

The trail has a lot of great features:

  • It is dog friendly, so you can bring your pooch or hang out with all the other dogs you’ll see on the trail.
  • There are a lot of fairly safe creek crossings. We counted 11 of them one way. It makes the hike challenging and fun, especially for kids.
  • There is some shade. Not a ton of shade, but when you’re in the desert, you’ll take it. There was a lot of shade under Morning Glory Arch.


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Where is the Grandstaff Trail?

The trailhead is located three miles east of Highway 191 on Utah Scenic Byway 128, just over 5 miles northeast of Moab.

Scenes from the Hike

Below are some scenes from the hike. It’s a beautiful, fun adventure!

Morning Glory Arch

And the prize at the end? Morning Glory Arch was, well, glorious. You get to go right up under it, which is very cool. It’s a perfect place for a picnic lunch.

Oh, and how did we make sure a bit of Roxy made it to Morning Glory Arch? Well, she was on our minds and hearts the whole way. And we plucked dog hairs off of our gear and left them under the arch. 🙂

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