Government Trail

Grand Gulch ISA Complex, Utah

Elevation Gain1,172ft
Trailhead Elevation5,660ft
Elevation Min/Max5040/5666ft
Elevation Start/End5660/5660ft

Government Trail

Government Trail is a hiking trail in San Juan County, Utah. It is within Grand Gulch ISA Complex. It is three miles long and begins at 5,660 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,172 feet. The Government Trailhead parking is near the trailhead.

Government Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Grand Staircase-Escalante & the Glen Canyon Region (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison
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"Constructed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the 1970s, the Government Trail is the second shortest and easiest access into Grand Gulch. The way follows a long-closed road over the shrubdotted expanse of Polly’s Pasture, near the southwestern edge of the Cedar Mesa/Polly Mesa tableland, then descends 300 feet via a wellconstructed trail into the middle reaches of Grand Gulch. The hike is a rewarding day trip, but backpackers use it most frequently as part of an extended trip in Grand Gulch. Although seasonal water sources are likely to be found in the gulch, day hikers and backpackers alike are advised to pack in an ample water supply. At the end of the road, adjacent to the stock pond, you find an information signboard displaying maps, backcountry regulations, and abundant tips on Leave No Trace."
Best Easy Day Hikes: Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Glen Canyon Region-3rd Edition (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison/JD Tanner/Emily Ressler-Tanner
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"Government Trail to Grand Gulch offers an excellent hike into the Grand Gulch Primitive Area. Hikers are rewarded with amazing views, a wealth of archaeological sites, and one of the most beautiful desert canyons in the region. Vistas from the open mesa are far-ranging and panoramic. The brick- red Bears Ears and Woodenshoe Buttes rise on the far northern horizon, defining the southern rim of lofty Elk Ridge. Moss Back Butte and the Tables of the Sun anchor the northern end of the Red House Cliffs to the northwest."

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Trail Information

Grand Gulch ISA Complex
Nearby City
Grand Gulch ISA Complex
Skill Level
Hiking, Camping
Additional Use
USGS Polly’s Pasture; Trails Illustrated Grand Gulch Plateau
Local Maps

Trail Log