Scenic USA - Arizona

Vermilion Cliffs

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Vermilion Cliffs - Marble Canyon, Arizona

Photos by Ken Reece

   Fitting snugly between U.S. Route Alt-89 and the Utah border, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument includes a spectacular line of towering cliffs, Vermilion Cliffsbreathtaking canyons and miles of unforgiving desert. Here, just north of the Grand Canyon, nearly 300,000 acres of red-rock desert make up the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. This rugged land is home to desert bighorn sheep, herds of pronghorn and 20 species of raptors. Its hardy reptile residents and desert plants are also well suited for this desert environment. Unlike resident wildlife, monument visitors who are unaccustomed to this climate should heed all the warnings of potential hazards. These enchanting cliffs have a way of drawing in unsuspecting sightseers, eager to take up hiking, camping and backpacking. Be sure to check the BLM Contact Stations for permits, fees and visitor limitations.
   With limited signage, and the nearby (and very popular) Grand Canyon, the Vermilion Cliffs receive little attention. For those interested in unique canyonland adventures, the Arizona Strip District offers some of the most rewarding backpacking trails in Arizona. Coyote Buttes, Vermilion Cliffs, Paria River Canyon, and Buckskin Gulch are a few more of the favorite hotspots located among some of the most remote and rugged public lands in the lower 48, creating a special appeal for backcountry hikers.

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