A short trail run into Grandstaff Canyon with lush, green cottonwoods and a massive rock bridge.


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Just over 4-miles, Grandstaff Canyon is a great out-and-back trail run to Morning Glory Natural Bridge, "the sixth longest natural rock span in the United States" according to visitutah.com.

Hikers frequently choose this as a half-day adventure, while trail runners should plan an early start to avoid the crowd.

In contrast to the extreme exposure on most trails around Moab, this year-round run explores a quiet canyon lined with lush undergrowth and abundant stands of cottonwoods. The canyon's history dates back to the late 1800's when cowboy William Grandstaff ran his cattle alongside a Canadian trapper named Frenchie.

As history goes, "Grandstaff fled the area in 1881 after being charged with bootlegging whiskey to the Indians." Up until the late 1900's, the canyon held different names and is still infrequently referenced by its most recent, Negro Bill Canyon. The path is easy to follow and very runnable, even for novice trail runners.

The majority of the elevation gain comes in the last half mile as the trail ascends into a secondary canyon.

Crossing a small stream, you'll wander through a stand of cottonwoods before reaching the trail's end at Morning Glory Natural Bridge.

Underneath the bridge, the trail awards spectacular views of the massive rock span.

During the spring and fall, you may even witness some daring adventurers rappelling into the canyon from above.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandstaff_Canyon https://www.visitutah.com/things-to-do/hiking/moab-hiking/grandstaff/