Paria Canyon Wilderness / Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Tours
Even though the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is seldom visited, the breathtaking landscape here rivals any national park in the U.S. Part of the monument falls in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, where you’ll find the exclusive Wave hike, the delicate and colorful sandstone formations of South Coyote Buttes and Buckskin Gulch, which is believed to be the world’s longest slot canyon. White Pocket is an otherworldly destination entirely. If you’re seeking solitude, indescribable beauty, a protected and wild landscape unscathed, you’ve come to the right place. We know the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument like few do and we can’t wait to share it with you.
The Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is found just south of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in northernmost Arizona between Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona. The monument is named for the spectacular 3,000-foot red cliffs that border the Paria Plateau.
Other than Jacob Lake Inn or Cliff Dwellers Lodge, the closest hotel rooms, restaurants and amenities are found in Kanab, Utah or Page, Arizona.
Most visitors to the area view the Vermilion Cliffs while traveling between Jacob Lake and Page on Highway 89A. It’s arguable one of the most scenic drives in the country. But, to truly appreciate the treasures of this remote space takes more effort and planning than a simple highway drive.
The main access point for most of the recreational opportunities in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is House Rock Valley Road, which is a 30-mile through road that runs north to south, connecting Highway 89 to Highway 89A. House Rock Valley Road is made up of gravel in some spots and clay in others. It’s often passable in a two-wheel drive car with good ground clearance, but when it’s wet, a beefy 4X4 with off road tires and clearance is needed, if the road is passable at all. Along House Rock Valley Road is a California Condor release site, the West Bench Pueblo, Maze Rock Art site, Wire Pass slot canyon trailhead, Buckskin Gulch trailhead and side roads that lead to the top of the Paria Plateau.
The elevation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument ranges from 3,100 feet to 6,500 feet above sea level. On top of the Paria Plateau, the most commonly visited spots are White Pocket and South Coyote Buttes (which requires a day use permit). But many miles of deep, sandy “roads” on the plateau lead to unnamed rock formations, native American sites and remote camping opportunities.
The Wave in North Coyote Buttes is by far the most famous feature of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Wind, water and time sculpted this well-recognized formation out of Navajo Sandstone in the North Coyote Buttes where only 20 people per day may enter. The nearby South Coyote Buttes offers hiking and photography on the same rock formation that the Wave originated from. Our company offers tours to both the Cottonwood Cove and Paw Hole trail heads of South Coyote Buttes.
The Coyote Buttes are part of the 112,500-acre Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness that was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1984. Government rules in a wilderness area are strict in order to keep the land in a natural, pristine state. Human activities in wilderness areas are restricted to scientific study and non-mechanized recreation. Drones are not allowed. That’s why in North and South Coyote Buttes, entry is limited to only 20 people per day by special permit to reduce impact on the delicate landscape. Other highly-sought destinations within Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness are Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon. Dreamland Safari Tours does not offer tours to those slot canyons.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was designated by President Bill Clinton on Nov. 9, 2000 and is comprised of land that was previously managed by the federal government. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management under the U.S. Department of the Interior. This is the same federal department that is in charge of the National Park Service. The land is managed from the BLM Arizona Strip Field Office in St. George, Utah, though permits for the Coyote Buttes areas and Paria Canyon are issued at the BLM Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah. The BLM Arizona Strip Field Office manages nearly 2 million acres in northwestern Arizona. Because the Grand Canyon isolates the Arizona Strip from the rest of Arizona, this region constitutes the most remote and rugged public land in the lower 48 states.