Geography of Grand County, Utah

North America

Grand County, located in southeastern Utah, is a region renowned for its stunning landscapes, iconic national parks, and rugged desert terrain. From the towering red rock formations of Arches National Park to the winding canyons of Canyonlands National Park, Grand County offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and geological wonders.

Geographical Overview:

According to Ejiaxing, Grand County is situated in southeastern Utah, bordered by San Juan County to the south, Emery County to the northwest, and Uintah County to the northeast. It covers an area of approximately 3,694 square miles (9,566 square kilometers) and is home to several municipalities, including Moab, the county seat, and the gateway to the region’s national parks.


Grand County experiences a semi-arid climate, characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and low precipitation. Summers are typically hot, with average high temperatures reaching the upper 90s to low 100s Fahrenheit (around 37-40 degrees Celsius). Winters are cold, with average lows dropping into the 20s to 30s Fahrenheit (around -6 to -1 degrees Celsius).

Precipitation in Grand County is minimal, with most of it falling during the summer months in the form of brief, intense thunderstorms. The region also experiences occasional winter storms, bringing snow and ice to the area, particularly in the higher elevations. Due to its semi-arid climate, Grand County is prone to drought conditions, which can impact water resources and vegetation.

Red Rock Formations:

One of the most iconic features of Grand County is its stunning red rock formations, which dominate the landscape and attract visitors from around the world. Arches National Park, located just north of Moab, is famous for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the iconic Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch.

Canyonlands National Park, located to the west of Moab, is known for its dramatic canyons, mesas, and buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The park is divided into four districts, each offering its own unique landscapes and recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, and scenic drives.

Colorado River:

The Colorado River forms the southeastern boundary of Grand County, carving deep canyons and gorges as it flows through the region. The river serves as a vital waterway for irrigation, agriculture, and recreation, providing habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species.

The Colorado River is also a popular destination for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing, with several outfitters offering guided trips through the scenic canyons and rapids. Visitors can explore the river’s rugged beauty and experience the thrill of navigating its challenging waters.

Rivers and Streams:

In addition to the Colorado River, Grand County is intersected by several other rivers and streams that flow through the region’s diverse landscape. The Green River, a major tributary of the Colorado River, flows through the western part of the county, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing.

Other notable rivers and streams in Grand County include the Dolores River, the San Juan River, and Mill Creek, each of which contributes to the county’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities. These waterways provide habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, as well as opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure.

Lakes and Reservoirs:

While not as abundant as rivers, Grand County is home to several lakes and reservoirs that offer opportunities for water-based recreation. Ken’s Lake, located near Moab, is a popular destination for fishing, swimming, and picnicking, with scenic views of the surrounding red rock landscape.

Other notable lakes in Grand County include the La Sal Mountains, the Abajo Mountains, and the Henry Mountains. These high-elevation lakes offer opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping, as well as stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Parks and Natural Areas:

Grand County is home to several parks and natural areas that showcase the region’s diverse landscapes and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. In addition to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, the county is also home to Dead Horse Point State Park, which offers panoramic views of the Colorado River and its deep canyons.

Other natural areas in Grand County include the Manti-La Sal National Forest, the Dark Canyon Wilderness, and the Indian Creek Corridor. These protected areas provide habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, as well as opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Desert Wilderness:

Much of Grand County is characterized by its rugged desert wilderness, with vast expanses of open desert, sagebrush plains, and rocky mesas. The desert landscape is home to a variety of plant and animal species adapted to the harsh conditions, including cacti, sagebrush, and desert bighorn sheep.

The desert wilderness of Grand County offers opportunities for exploration and adventure, with miles of hiking trails, off-road vehicle routes, and scenic overlooks to discover. Visitors can experience the solitude and tranquility of the desert landscape while immersing themselves in the region’s natural beauty and geological wonders.

Grand County, Utah, offers a diverse and dramatic landscape characterized by its red rock formations, deep canyons, and rugged desert wilderness. Its semi-arid climate provides hot summers and cold winters, making it an ideal destination for outdoor recreation and adventure. Whether exploring the arches of Arches National Park, rafting the rapids of the Colorado River, or hiking through the desert wilderness, Grand County invites residents and visitors alike to experience the beauty and grandeur of southeastern Utah.