The Wave and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Explore this remote high-desert wonder in Northern Arizona.

The northwest corner of Arizona is isolated from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Visitors who make the trek to Vermillion Cliffs are treated to some of the most unusual geologic formations in the country. See 3,000-foot cliffs, sinewy slot canyons and massive rock formations jutting out of the earth. Dirt roads lead into an area where permits are required to experience one of the most spectacular outdoor excursions in Arizona.

Rugged Backcountry Hiking

It took millions of years for nature to create this magical place, anchored by a swirling maze of rock formations known as Vermillion Cliffs. The star of the show is The Wave, an otherworldly destination of whimsical sandstone formations. The Wave uses a lottery system to limit the number of hikers permitted to visit the area. Reaching The Wave requires a strenuous 6.4-mile roundtrip hike through unforgiving terrain with slot canyons prone to flash flooding. Other areas in nearby Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch are accessible with permits for day hiking, which invite experienced hikers to explore one of the longest slot canyon networks in the country.

Primitive Camping

Just outside the monument, campsites are available at Stateline Campground on the Arizona-Utah border. From Highway 89A, navigate the dirt House Rock Valley Road 30 miles north to the border. Plus, Paria Canyon offers permit camping with limited services. Just like with the hikes, visitors pack in everything they need and pack it all back out. It is worth the effort to sleep under the stars surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs, arches and amphitheaters in a place where condor sightings are more common than people sightings. Please note that House Rock Valley Road is best navigated in high-clearance vehicles and four-wheel drive is required when the roads are wet.

While Up North

Many visitors choose the city of Page, one hour east of Vermillion Cliffs, to stock up on supplies for day trips into this spectacular area bordered by Kaibab National Forest and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Visitors who make it all the way to this remote outpost owe it to themselves to continue the journey to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The north rim is the less visited and less developed area of the canyon, another reminder of Arizona’s incomparable natural beauty.

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