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Vermilion Cliffs Highway Scenic Drive

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Description

The Vermilion Cliffs Highways is a project involving a partnership of 40 public and private entities providing a combination of 21 interpretive sites or scenic overlooks along 277 miles of state highways in northern Arizona and southern Utah. These roads generally follow the winding ramparts of the lengthy and beautiful Vermilion Cliffs. This cliff line is traceable from the Gunlock Reservoir area of southwest Utah to the Tuba City area of north-central Arizona.

Scenic overlooks and historic and prehistoric sites along the highways convey various aspects of the overall theme of "exploration and survival". These sites are tied inextricably to past and present "exploration" of existing landforms and the use of natural resources for "survival".

The Vermilion Cliffs Highways traverse some of the most scenic landforms in the West. In addition, the various highways are, in many cases, historic transportation routes used for centuries by succeeding waves of humanity in the region.

Interstate 15, and Highway 9 - On the western end of the highways corridor is Interstate 15, and Highway 9. These segments breach what was once a formidable barrier to transportation created by the Beaver Dam and Virgin Mountains. These segments also graphically show the abrupt change from the more somber Basin and Range Physiographic Province in the west to the colorful, layer-cake geology of the Colorado Plateau Province to the east. The power of moving, folding land masses is evident everywhere, especially in the Virgin River Gorge where the Grand Wash Fault line plays a prominent role in the lay of the land.

The Highway 9 segment passes through the Virgin Anticline, a large, asymmetrical, descending anticline or "hump" in the earth. Both the St. George and Hurricane, Utah areas show evidence of past volcanic activity, primarily in the form of cinder cones, intrusive masses (Pine Valley Mountains west of Hurricane), and basalt flows. Evidence of pioneer history can be seen in the pioneer park in the center of Hurricane.

Highway 59 and Highway 389 - The central core of the highways begins with Highway 59 at Hurricane, Utah and proceeds east along Highway 59 and Highway 389 to Fredonia, Arizona. Highway 59 abruptly climbs through the next east-west barrier to transportation--the Hurricane Cliffs. It is said that these cliffs represent one of the longest exposed escarpments or line of cliffs in the world. The Hurricane Fault is the second (after the Grand Wash Fault) in what is a series of huge block faults segmenting the Arizona Strip from east to west. Once atop the Hurricane Cliffs a spectacular vista of 8 major geologic formations unfolds to the north in the Zion National Park and Kolob Terrace region. It is from here that one may see the thickest accumulation of the Navajo Sandstone formation--some 2,000 feet!

Highways 59 and 389 continue east across the rolling slopes of sand-covered Chinle and Moenkopi geologic formations. The imposing ramparts of Canaan Mountain rise above Colorado City, Arizona bringing the Vermilion Cliffs close to the highway where the intricate colors and textures of the various rock formations may be seen more readily. The cottonwood-lined banks of Short Creek, emerging from the Vermilion Cliffs at Colorado City show that good townsites require water; whether bustling, growing towns of today or Virgin Anasazi villages of the far past--both are present here.

Highways 59 and 389 parallel the slow curve of the Vermilion Cliffs until reaching the town of Fredonia, Arizona. A small town of less than one thousand residents, Fredonia possesses a rich history of "exploration and survival", from early explorations and accounts by Sharlot Hall, John Wesley Powell, and Clarence Dutton to a more modern day "survival" based on the use of timber, mineral, grazing, and tourist resources. ..Highway 89-A and Highway 89 - Fredonia is a western point of departure for the Highway 89-A and Highway 89 loop. This loop proceeds east on Highway 89-A from Fredonia through wide open landscapes of rolling sage plains that slowly rise to the approach of the Kaibab Plateau, or west Kaibab Monocline. To the north, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a scenic region of successive, multicolored cliffs that includes the Vermilion Cliffs, can readily be seen rising to elevations of over 11,000 feet above sea level. This land of impenetrable barriers to prehistoric and historic people is one of scenic attractions today. ..The sage-covered plains west of the Kaibab Plateau quickly give way to shrub, then juniper and pinyon woodlands, which finally give way to ponderosa pine forest, most evident in the Jacob Lake area. Jacob Lake is the gateway to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, only 45 miles to the south. It provides lodging, food, camping, picnicking and information about the region. Jacob Lake has been a point of departure for modern (and not so modern) explorations of the northern Grand Canyon region. ..Descending the Kaibab Plateau to the east, the east Kaibab Monocline is crossed as the highway drops to the floor of House Rock Valley. A small pullout currently provides a breathtaking view across the broad grassy plain of House Rock Valley, at the base of the Vermilion Cliffs, to the walls of Marble Canyon, the Kaibab Plateau, and the far off Echo Cliffs (the easternmost extension of the Vermilion Cliffs). Once again, all along this highway, the evidence of human use is scarce and generally blends with the "western" feel of the area. ..Continuing east, the Vermilion Cliffs dominate the northern view while the wide-open expanse of the Marble Platform spread out to the south and east. From House Rock Valley, the Kaibab Plateau to the west enhances the already colorful scene with dark shades of green and in winter, white, snowcapped plateau rims. ..The entire Highway 89-A/Highway 89 loop circles the massive Paria Plateau and northern Kaibab Plateau Uplift. Again, these routes show the desire for mobility and transportation of people and goods, as they penetrate what were thought to be impenetrable physical barriers such as the Kaibab Plateau, Marble Canyon, Glen Canyon, and the Cockscomb. Sites along the way such as the Dominguez-Escalante Interpretive Site, Navajo Bridge, Glen Canyon Dam, and the Pahreah Townsite all show various attempts, successes, and failures at exploration, settlement, and survival over time. .

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Zion National Park - North Rim Grand Canyon Zion National Park - North Rim Grand Canyon Zion National Park - North Rim Grand Canyon
Travel information on the North Rim Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Kanab and Bryce Canyon Nation Park - Visit the Heart of the Parks.
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San Juan County San Juan County San Juan County
Southeast UtahSan Juan County is located in the Four Corners region of the southwest United States. Visitors come to experience the unique culture and natural history of the area.
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Kingman Kingman Kingman
Western ArizonaKingman is an historic city and the heart of Route 66. For those seeking time away in the great outdoors, the Hualapai Mountains offer hiking, picnicking, camping, wildlife viewing and any number of activities in a beautiful setting.
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Sierra Vista Sierra Vista Sierra Vista
Southern ArizonaWhether you enjoy hiking, bird watching, history or culture, Sierra Vista has something for everyone. Connect with the Old West in the "Land of Legends", or Cochise County.
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Tucson Tucson Tucson
Southeast ArizonaTucson is a borderland metropolitan area influenced by many cultures to make it an exciting and unique place to visit. Near Tucson is Saguaro National Park, named for the spectacular Saguaro forest found there.
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Sedona Sedona Sedona
Central ArizonaSedona is known by many as "Red Rock Country” and is a magical place of art and culture located in Central Arizona. Friendly locals and beautiful surroundings make this quite the popular destination.
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Glendale Glendale Glendale
Phoenix Area - Central ArizonaLet us set the stage for your adventure be it edge of your seat sports showdowns, romantic evenings amid our colorful sonoran sunsets, rugged yet stunning outdoor escapes and to die for shopping and dining. “Please share my email address with the city of Glendale, AZ so they might email me information on travel specials, packages, and events in their area.”
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Bisbee Bisbee Bisbee
Southern ArizonaVictorian neighborhoods, locally-owned restaurants and coffee shops, bookstores, galleries and more make Bisbee a good choice for those seeking sophistication along with small town charm.
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Bullhead City Bullhead City Bullhead City
Located near the spot where Arizona, Nevada and California meet, Bullhead City is a rapidly growing community nestled along the beautiful blue waters of the Colorado River. The striking scenic beauty provides the backdrop for a host of outdoor recreation activities.
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Tempe Tempe Tempe
Phoenix Area - Central ArizonaArizona State University may be Tempe’s claim to fame, but there’s plenty going on in this friendly city just south of Phoenix. Boating on Tempe Town Lake, nightlife on Mill Avenue and performances at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage Auditorium are just a few of our favorite Tempe temptations.
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Bryce Canyon Country Bryce Canyon Country Bryce Canyon Country
Bryce Canyon Country is home to several scenically diverse state/national parks. Visitors will want to spend at least a few days exploring this spectacular part of Utah.
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Benson Benson Benson
Benson has a rich history tied to the railroad and Old West. A great draw for many visitors is Kartchner Caverns State Park which offers camping, hiking, beauty and of course, the caverns themselves.
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Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is known across the globe and is one of the most visited places on earth. One great way to view the breathtaking scenery is via a scenic flight which offers a bird's eye of this natural wonder.
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Prescott: An Arizona Gem Prescott: An Arizona Gem Prescott: An Arizona Gem
Prescott is a destination that transcends the Arizona archetype. No sweltering summers or miles of cactus covered moonscape. The town’s mile-high location in the Grand Canyon State’s central highlands brings four mild seasons, an average annual daytime temperature of about seventy degrees, and over 300 days of sunshine.
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Chandler Chandler Chandler
Phoenix area - Central ArizonaThe City of Chandler, AZ boasts world class golf facilities, Arizona resorts, fabulous restaurants of every cuisine, premier shopping and tons of fun activities.
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Specialty Guides

Holiday River Expeditions Holiday River Expeditions Holiday River Expeditions
Our rafting journeys include the Colorado, Green, San Juan, Yampa and Salmon River.
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Western River Expeditions Western River Expeditions Western River Expeditions
River runners at any level of experience are bound to find the right rafting trip with Western River Expeditions. If you've never run a river or slept outdoors, you are like many of our guests. Relax. We design our trips to be comfortable and accessible to most everyone, regardless of experience. After all, this is your vacation.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.
Vermilion Cliffs Highway Scenic Drive

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Vermilion Cliffs Highway Scenic Drive

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If you are the owner/manager of this business and would like to improve your listing, please submit a request.

Description

The Vermilion Cliffs Highways is a project involving a partnership of 40 public and private entities providing a combination of 21 interpretive sites or scenic overlooks along 277 miles of state highways in northern Arizona and southern Utah. These roads generally follow the winding ramparts of the lengthy and beautiful Vermilion Cliffs. This cliff line is traceable from the Gunlock Reservoir area of southwest Utah to the Tuba City area of north-central Arizona.

Scenic overlooks and historic and prehistoric sites along the highways convey various aspects of the overall theme of "exploration and survival". These sites are tied inextricably to past and present "exploration" of existing landforms and the use of natural resources for "survival".

The Vermilion Cliffs Highways traverse some of the most scenic landforms in the West. In addition, the various highways are, in many cases, historic transportation routes used for centuries by succeeding waves of humanity in the region.

Interstate 15, and Highway 9 - On the western end of the highways corridor is Interstate 15, and Highway 9. These segments breach what was once a formidable barrier to transportation created by the Beaver Dam and Virgin Mountains. These segments also graphically show the abrupt change from the more somber Basin and Range Physiographic Province in the west to the colorful, layer-cake geology of the Colorado Plateau Province to the east. The power of moving, folding land masses is evident everywhere, especially in the Virgin River Gorge where the Grand Wash Fault line plays a prominent role in the lay of the land.

The Highway 9 segment passes through the Virgin Anticline, a large, asymmetrical, descending anticline or "hump" in the earth. Both the St. George and Hurricane, Utah areas show evidence of past volcanic activity, primarily in the form of cinder cones, intrusive masses (Pine Valley Mountains west of Hurricane), and basalt flows. Evidence of pioneer history can be seen in the pioneer park in the center of Hurricane.

Highway 59 and Highway 389 - The central core of the highways begins with Highway 59 at Hurricane, Utah and proceeds east along Highway 59 and Highway 389 to Fredonia, Arizona. Highway 59 abruptly climbs through the next east-west barrier to transportation--the Hurricane Cliffs. It is said that these cliffs represent one of the longest exposed escarpments or line of cliffs in the world. The Hurricane Fault is the second (after the Grand Wash Fault) in what is a series of huge block faults segmenting the Arizona Strip from east to west. Once atop the Hurricane Cliffs a spectacular vista of 8 major geologic formations unfolds to the north in the Zion National Park and Kolob Terrace region. It is from here that one may see the thickest accumulation of the Navajo Sandstone formation--some 2,000 feet!

Highways 59 and 389 continue east across the rolling slopes of sand-covered Chinle and Moenkopi geologic formations. The imposing ramparts of Canaan Mountain rise above Colorado City, Arizona bringing the Vermilion Cliffs close to the highway where the intricate colors and textures of the various rock formations may be seen more readily. The cottonwood-lined banks of Short Creek, emerging from the Vermilion Cliffs at Colorado City show that good townsites require water; whether bustling, growing towns of today or Virgin Anasazi villages of the far past--both are present here.

Highways 59 and 389 parallel the slow curve of the Vermilion Cliffs until reaching the town of Fredonia, Arizona. A small town of less than one thousand residents, Fredonia possesses a rich history of "exploration and survival", from early explorations and accounts by Sharlot Hall, John Wesley Powell, and Clarence Dutton to a more modern day "survival" based on the use of timber, mineral, grazing, and tourist resources. ..Highway 89-A and Highway 89 - Fredonia is a western point of departure for the Highway 89-A and Highway 89 loop. This loop proceeds east on Highway 89-A from Fredonia through wide open landscapes of rolling sage plains that slowly rise to the approach of the Kaibab Plateau, or west Kaibab Monocline. To the north, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a scenic region of successive, multicolored cliffs that includes the Vermilion Cliffs, can readily be seen rising to elevations of over 11,000 feet above sea level. This land of impenetrable barriers to prehistoric and historic people is one of scenic attractions today. ..The sage-covered plains west of the Kaibab Plateau quickly give way to shrub, then juniper and pinyon woodlands, which finally give way to ponderosa pine forest, most evident in the Jacob Lake area. Jacob Lake is the gateway to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, only 45 miles to the south. It provides lodging, food, camping, picnicking and information about the region. Jacob Lake has been a point of departure for modern (and not so modern) explorations of the northern Grand Canyon region. ..Descending the Kaibab Plateau to the east, the east Kaibab Monocline is crossed as the highway drops to the floor of House Rock Valley. A small pullout currently provides a breathtaking view across the broad grassy plain of House Rock Valley, at the base of the Vermilion Cliffs, to the walls of Marble Canyon, the Kaibab Plateau, and the far off Echo Cliffs (the easternmost extension of the Vermilion Cliffs). Once again, all along this highway, the evidence of human use is scarce and generally blends with the "western" feel of the area. ..Continuing east, the Vermilion Cliffs dominate the northern view while the wide-open expanse of the Marble Platform spread out to the south and east. From House Rock Valley, the Kaibab Plateau to the west enhances the already colorful scene with dark shades of green and in winter, white, snowcapped plateau rims. ..The entire Highway 89-A/Highway 89 loop circles the massive Paria Plateau and northern Kaibab Plateau Uplift. Again, these routes show the desire for mobility and transportation of people and goods, as they penetrate what were thought to be impenetrable physical barriers such as the Kaibab Plateau, Marble Canyon, Glen Canyon, and the Cockscomb. Sites along the way such as the Dominguez-Escalante Interpretive Site, Navajo Bridge, Glen Canyon Dam, and the Pahreah Townsite all show various attempts, successes, and failures at exploration, settlement, and survival over time. .

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Zion National Park - North Rim Grand Canyon Zion National Park - North Rim Grand Canyon Zion National Park - North Rim Grand Canyon
Travel information on the North Rim Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Kanab and Bryce Canyon Nation Park - Visit the Heart of the Parks.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.
San Juan County San Juan County San Juan County
Southeast UtahSan Juan County is located in the Four Corners region of the southwest United States. Visitors come to experience the unique culture and natural history of the area.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.
Kingman Kingman Kingman
Western ArizonaKingman is an historic city and the heart of Route 66. For those seeking time away in the great outdoors, the Hualapai Mountains offer hiking, picnicking, camping, wildlife viewing and any number of activities in a beautiful setting.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.
Sierra Vista Sierra Vista Sierra Vista
Southern ArizonaWhether you enjoy hiking, bird watching, history or culture, Sierra Vista has something for everyone. Connect with the Old West in the "Land of Legends", or Cochise County.
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Tucson Tucson Tucson
Southeast ArizonaTucson is a borderland metropolitan area influenced by many cultures to make it an exciting and unique place to visit. Near Tucson is Saguaro National Park, named for the spectacular Saguaro forest found there.
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Sedona Sedona Sedona
Central ArizonaSedona is known by many as "Red Rock Country” and is a magical place of art and culture located in Central Arizona. Friendly locals and beautiful surroundings make this quite the popular destination.
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Glendale Glendale Glendale
Phoenix Area - Central ArizonaLet us set the stage for your adventure be it edge of your seat sports showdowns, romantic evenings amid our colorful sonoran sunsets, rugged yet stunning outdoor escapes and to die for shopping and dining. “Please share my email address with the city of Glendale, AZ so they might email me information on travel specials, packages, and events in their area.”
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Bisbee Bisbee Bisbee
Southern ArizonaVictorian neighborhoods, locally-owned restaurants and coffee shops, bookstores, galleries and more make Bisbee a good choice for those seeking sophistication along with small town charm.
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Bullhead City Bullhead City Bullhead City
Located near the spot where Arizona, Nevada and California meet, Bullhead City is a rapidly growing community nestled along the beautiful blue waters of the Colorado River. The striking scenic beauty provides the backdrop for a host of outdoor recreation activities.
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Tempe Tempe Tempe
Phoenix Area - Central ArizonaArizona State University may be Tempe’s claim to fame, but there’s plenty going on in this friendly city just south of Phoenix. Boating on Tempe Town Lake, nightlife on Mill Avenue and performances at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage Auditorium are just a few of our favorite Tempe temptations.
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Bryce Canyon Country Bryce Canyon Country Bryce Canyon Country
Bryce Canyon Country is home to several scenically diverse state/national parks. Visitors will want to spend at least a few days exploring this spectacular part of Utah.
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Benson Benson Benson
Benson has a rich history tied to the railroad and Old West. A great draw for many visitors is Kartchner Caverns State Park which offers camping, hiking, beauty and of course, the caverns themselves.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.
Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is known across the globe and is one of the most visited places on earth. One great way to view the breathtaking scenery is via a scenic flight which offers a bird's eye of this natural wonder.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.
Prescott: An Arizona Gem Prescott: An Arizona Gem Prescott: An Arizona Gem
Prescott is a destination that transcends the Arizona archetype. No sweltering summers or miles of cactus covered moonscape. The town’s mile-high location in the Grand Canyon State’s central highlands brings four mild seasons, an average annual daytime temperature of about seventy degrees, and over 300 days of sunshine.
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Chandler Chandler Chandler
Phoenix area - Central ArizonaThe City of Chandler, AZ boasts world class golf facilities, Arizona resorts, fabulous restaurants of every cuisine, premier shopping and tons of fun activities.
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Specialty Guides

Holiday River Expeditions Holiday River Expeditions Holiday River Expeditions
Our rafting journeys include the Colorado, Green, San Juan, Yampa and Salmon River.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.
Western River Expeditions Western River Expeditions Western River Expeditions
River runners at any level of experience are bound to find the right rafting trip with Western River Expeditions. If you've never run a river or slept outdoors, you are like many of our guests. Relax. We design our trips to be comfortable and accessible to most everyone, regardless of experience. After all, this is your vacation.
Request this Free Visitor GuideRequested! You're all set! Request a few more Visitor Guides, or complete the form below to receive your guides by mail.