Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

This region, which was totally unknown until a few years ago, was elevated to a national monument of more than 1,000 km² under President Bill Clinton on November 9, 2000. For many decades, the whole area has been an insider tip because of the spectacular rock formations, the narrow canyons and the adventurous conditions. Again and again photos appeared in which these “manuscripts of the earth’s history” were depicted – but never described in such detail that, as a tourist, one knew where this wondrous landscape actually is. Despite the establishment of the National Monument, there are very few signposts and markers. And that is likely to continue to be the case. No other tourist facilities are planned. Therefore, this area is ideal for self-exploration.

According to usaers, the multicolored wilderness of Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness stretches through northeastern Arizona along the spectacular Vermilion Cliffs and meanders northwest along Paria Canyon. A small portion of the National Monument extends into Utah. Paria Canyon is considered one of the top backpacker destinations for canyon hiking in the world. Towering walls are covered with stripes that look like they have been painted. Gorges meander so closely together that the sky only shimmers through a thin, blue band of color from above.

Huge red rock amphitheatres, sandstone arches, intricate sculptures carved by erosion, forest terraces, hanging gardens of ferns and orchids can be found here. It seems as if the interior of the earth has been exposed here. At the end of the canyon, the Vermilion Cliffs rise up to 1,000 meters as massive, multicolored rocks. An escarpment dominates the rest of the wilderness with thick Navajo Sandstone and huge boulders.

Most of the area is an isolated plateau that is flat and sandy. There are a few scattered farms among the wasteland. Occasional 12th-century Anasazi remains known as the Sand Hills are found here. Access options are very limited.

Areas of interest include the gorges, most notably Buckskin Gulch , the longest slot canyon in the American Southwest. This includes the Paria River Gorge , a deep gorge that rivals any gorge in the much more famous Zion National Park.

On the western edge of the plateau there is an accumulation of wildly twisted sandstone, deformed columns, cones, mushrooms and other strange shapes that wind and water have sculpted here. Iron inclusions are responsible for the unique blend of colors in the rocks, creating dramatic shades of rainbows, pastels, yellows, pinks and reds. One of the most famous is The Wave . It is one of the most spectacular and extensive rock faces in the USA.

Culture and History
The first human inhabitants – the Pueblo and Paiute Indians – arrived in this area almost 10,000 years ago. Near the Paria station – along the Paria River – was the historic settlement of Pahreah, now a ghost town. In 1871, Mormon pioneer John D. Lee traveled from the city of Pahreah through Pariah Canyon to the Colorado River and built Lee’s Ferry.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Keywords
Location and Size
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument stretches from the western rim of Marble Canyon to the border of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Located in northern Arizona on the Colorado Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument encompasses the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Bordered by Kaibab National Forest to the west and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the east, the monument covers an area of ​​1,190 km². It is administered by the Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ).

Getting there
By car
Highway-89A in northern Arizona and Highway 89 in southern Utah traverse the northern and southern boundaries of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Page, Arizona, and Kanab, Utah are the two most important cities along these routes. There are car rental companies in Page and Las Vegas.

By Air
Page, AZ has a small airport that serves commercial flights from Denver and Phoenix. From here, it takes about an hour to drive to the north or south entrance. Las Vegas is the closest international airport and is approximately a 3.5 hour drive away. At Marble Canyon there is a small private airstrip that is open to the public. Kanab, UT also has an airport. Both can be served by private planes.

Centers There is no visitor center at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Paria Contact Station
The Paria Contact Station is open seven days a week from 08:00 to 16:30, from March 15th to November 15th.

Drive to Paria Contact Station from Page (AZ) 30 miles west on Highway 89. The “BLM-Contact Station” sign is on the left (south). Paria Contact Station is two hundred yards off US 89.

From Kanab, UT, drive east on Highway 89 for 62 kilometers (43 miles). The “BLM-Contact Station” sign is on the right. Paria Contact Station is two hundred yards off US 89.

Kanab Field Office
669 South Highway 89A, Kanab, UT 84741, Tel: +1 (435) 644-1200, [email protected] ; Open in summer from Mon to Fri from 08:00 to 16:30.

Kanab Visitor Center
745 E. Hwy 89, Kanab, UT, 84741, Tel: +1 (435) 644-1300/1301, Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Entrance Fees
There is no entrance fee to Vermilion Cliffs. A permit must be purchased for hikes to Coyote Buttes – The Wave or Paria Canyon.

Permits are required for hiking Coyote Buttes North (The Wave), Coyote Buttes South, and multi-day tours in Paria Canyon. Permits are issued at the Pariah contact station from mid-March to mid-November. From mid-November to mid-March, the Pariah Contact Station is closed and permits are issued at the Kanab Field Office. Ten walk-in hikers are given a permit per day and ten day hikers are drawn at random following an online or email application. Permits can be requested and purchased online from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). When applying online, three possible days for the visit can be specified. A non-refundable fee is payable. Reservations can be made four months in advance. Properly submitted applications will be counted and a random draw will be held on the first of each month. If you are drawn and the selected date is included, you will receive a notification. If one chooses to hike on this date, a permit will be issued for the number of participants entered on the application. The amount already sent will be included in the cost of the permit. A permit costs USD 5 per person per day.
Apply for a permit:

Campsites and accommodation options
There are several locations along Vermilion Cliffs National Monument that offer overnight accommodation. Along the southern boundary where the Paria River meets the Colorado River is Marble Canyon. There are 3 hotels in Marble Canyon and a campground at Lees Ferry. There are many free camping options here. At the north end is Kanab, Utah, which has a few hotels, campgrounds, and a hostel. There are also a few campgrounds in and around town, including Whitehouse Campground. This area is located between Page and Kanab on US 89 where the Wire Pass and White House trailheads for Coyote Buttes, The Wave and Paria Canyon are trailheads. The Paria Outpost is the only lodging option in this area that has a restaurant,

Vermilion Cliffs is an arid region ranging in elevation from 3,000 to 7,000 feet. Near Marble Canyon along the Vermilion Cliffs are the lowest elevations with the highest temperatures, especially in summer. In the upper regions it is very warm in summer. Monsoon rains are possible throughout the Vermilion Cliffs area from July through August. Like most areas along the Colorado Plateau, spring and fall offer the best weather for hiking. In winter, snow falls regularly at altitudes over 1,200 meters. Ice and strong wind are possible.

When to Visit Vermilion Cliffs Excluding
traffic along US 89, Vermilion Cliffs has very few visitors who hike Coyote Buttes and The Wave. Backpacking tours in Paria Canyon are by far the most popular activity and attract the most visitors. The best time to hike here is late spring and fall unless you don’t get a permit for Coyote Buttes or Paria Canyon. Otherwise it is also possible at the beginning of March and at the end of November.

Average temperatures in Paria Canyon in °C
Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max 10 16 21 24 31 35 39 38 28 27 16 10
Min -8 -4 0 7 13 19 24 20 17 7 -3 -7

Food and drinks
The small lodges at Marble Canyon also sell groceries. There is also a small shop at the gas station. Kanab has a few restaurants, cafes and a grocery store where you can buy everything you need for a tour. Paria Outpost near the trailheads for The Wave and Paria Canyon also has a restaurant.

Safety and dangers
The typical dangers of a desert landscape lurk in this region: During the summer season, the sun is more intense and temperatures can reach up to 38°C. In summer, in addition to high temperatures, intense sunshine and low humidity are to be expected. You should eat enough and drink at least 4 liters of water every day. For all activities you should make sure that you have enough water with you. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a sun hat are ideal. It is also extremely important to take sunscreen with you. All exposed areas of the skin should be creamed with a high sun protection factor beforehand. a. Strenuous activity should be done in the early morning or evening hours. When hiking through Paria Canyon or exploring other slot canyons, one should be aware of the danger of flash flooding. This can happen in the canyons, especially during the rainy season. Visits to the region require extra careful planning and an awareness of potential hazards such as unmarked gravel roads, poisonous reptiles, extreme heat, deep sand and flash floods.

Activities Hiking and Trekking The most popular activities in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument are hiking and trekking. Day hikes to North Coyote Buttes and The Wave are extremely popular. Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness hikes, which also require a permit, are other world-class tours in Vermilion Cliffs. A drive along the Vermilion Cliffs border or a camping tour are other special experiences.

Buckskin Gulch Route
The main canyon is best accessed from Utah at the White House Trailhead. However, some hikers choose the more strenuous Buckskin Gulch route. This gorge is about 20 km (12 miles) long: from White House it is 11 km (7 miles) to Paria. In some places the path narrows to less than a meter wide. You have to descend 10 m over a rock to get into the Paria Canyon. Flash floods can create a wall of water that can be up to 6 m high. An accurate weather forecast is therefore an absolute necessity for safe tours in Buckskin Gulch. Campfires are not permitted in either Paria Canyon or Buckskin Gulch. Group size is limited to 10 participants. However, smaller groups are recommended.

White Pocket
White Pocket is a remote, very difficult-to-reach sandstone area in the vast desert of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument near the Arizona-Utah border. The entire area is covered with a gray layer of rock, sometimes only a few centimeters thick. Above the red sandstone formations, they rise like drops that make the entire landscape look like it’s covered in powdered sugar. In some places the layers of stone are completely twisted. It looks like a giant marble cake.

Vermilion Cliffs Condor Viewing Site
Thanks to an initiative started at the Vermilion Cliffs in 1996, the California condor is once again circling the Arizona sky. A condor lookout at the west end of the monument invites visitors to keep an eye out for these massive black birds. From the lookout, there is almost a year-round guarantee of seeing condors soaring over the scenic Vermilion Cliffs. They are best seen with binoculars in the morning and early morning.

Other wildlife that can also be seen here include peregrine and prairie falcons, golden eagles and a variety of reptiles and amphibians, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mountain lions, antelope, squirrels, badgers and skunks. The nearest town is Jacob Lake.

Paria Canyon – Coyote Buttes
North Coyote Buttes – The Wave
is located on the Colorado Plateau on the Utah-Arizona border. The area is an assemblage of wildly twisted sandstone, deformed columns, cones, mushrooms and other strange creations. Iron inclusions are responsible for the unique blend of colors in the rocks, creating dramatic shades of rainbows, pastels, yellows, pinks and reds.

The Wave at a glance
A day hike is possible. Overnight camping is not permitted in the Coyote Buttes Permit area.

Hiking Trail :
9 km (5.5 miles) to The Wave and back. The trail from Wire Pass Parking lot to The Wave, Top Rock Arch, Alcove, Melody Arch, Dinosaur Tracks and back is 13 km (8 miles).
Average walking time:
6 hours to The Wave and back. 8 hours to The Wave, Top Rock Arch, Alcove, Melody Arch, Dinosaur Tracks.
Equipment: Good hiking shoes, at least four liters of water per person, especially in the hot summer months, a GPS. At the BLM you get a very good map of the area together with the permit.
Permit : A maximum of 20 people per day are permitted to enter North Coyote Buttes. difficulty level:
Average for The Wave and Dinosaur tracks. Very good sense of direction is required!
Sun exposure:
A lot of sun. The dark red rocks and sand reflect the sun, adding to the heat.
Trail Conditions :
The trail begins with an uphill stretch on sandy ground, with a large part of the trail going over rocks.
Start Point:
Wire Pass – 56 km (35 miles) west of Page, Arizona and 64 km (40 miles) east of Kanab, Utah. The end of the trail is the same as the starting point . Facts: At 1,486 meters above sea level is the starting point for The Wave. The Wave is 1585 meters above sea level. The incline is 100 meters.Restrooms: Restrooms are located at the Wire Pass Trailhead.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona