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Located on the western side of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument is one of the more recently established national monuments. It was officially created in 2000 by President Clinton to grant the rugged region some protection from commercial mining operations. Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument is managed by both the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Services (NPS).
Parashant is an Anglicization of a Paiute Native American word that roughly translates to “tanned elk hide.’ The Paiute is one of a dozen Native American tribes that lived and hunted in the region for centuries. There is evidence of settlements that are a few thousand years old.
The closest town is St. George, UT, which is about 60 miles north. In addition to grocery stores, restaurants, and a variety of shopping options, the town also has a small hospital equipped to handle medical emergencies. Search for an RV in Mohave County, AZ, and prepare to embark on a memorable RV camping trip.
With over a million acres, Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument is slightly bigger than Rhode Island. The park is one of the most pristine, untouched pieces of wilderness in the United States. There are no maintained trails and very few roads. Thanks to the minimal traffic, the sounds of civilization are very far away. One needs to simply pick a direction and go. All hikers and explorers should, at a minimum, carry a GPS or be able to navigate with a topography map, as well as have mastered basic wilderness first aid skills. Hike to the edge of the Grand Canyon and take in the majestic view of the canyon as well as Grand Canyon National Park, which borders the opposite side of the canyon.
Though the arid region is seemingly barren of life aside from desert-hardy native plants, it, in fact, teems with wildlife. Dozens, if not hundreds, of different species of animals, roam the rugged terrain. A shortlist includes deer, black bears, cougars, coyotes, and small-game critters like foxes, rabbits, and porcupines. Overhead, bald eagles, golden eagles, various hawks, and buzzards soar the vast blue sky in search of delicious snacks.
Far from the light pollution of cities, the night sky is extremely clear. Stars blaze overhead, nearly bright enough to illuminate the ground. Several planetary bodies and celestial objects are easily discerned with the naked eye, and one can see far more with the help of a telescope. The National Park Services conducts a Southwest Astronomy Festival every September, and the event includes guided tours and workshops, astrophotography classes, and art workshops.
Rent an RV and get closer to nature. There is no established RV campground at Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. Instead, one only needs to select a site on a durable surface such as gravel or hard-packed sand to minimize the impact on the natural ecosystem and enjoy the pristine wilderness. Note that there is little to no source of water; as a result, packing extra water is advised.
When some luxuries are required, RV camp in Littlefield, AZ, at the Virgin River Canyon Campground. The BLM-operated campground has flush toilets, drinking water, and 77 sites able to accommodate RVs and trailers.
In this far-flung corner of Arizona, it’s hard to believe that there are attractions in the area. Though towns are few and far apart in between, traveling from location to location is made effortless when you rent an RV. In a motorhome rental, miles and miles of roads fly by. Just across the Arizona-Nevada state border is Mesquite, NV, which, among many things, has a handful of casinos and a dozen golf courses. Hit the links! Although all of the fairways are topnotch, Conestoga Golf Club’s course was designed by famed golf architect Gary Panks. It is considered one of the more scenic fairways, and it has won several awards and accolades over the years.
Bunkerville, NV, has had its share of 15 minutes. In the 1950s, the blissful town was downwind of nuclear test sites. As a result, many adults and children suffered from cancer throughout their lives (the area has been deemed safe now, however). In 2014, the town was also the site of the ill-fated Bundy standoff, a clash between local ranchers and protestors and law enforcement.
At the end of a long day of hiking and exploring, kick up your heels outside an Airstream rental. Roast s’ mores over a crackling campfire that will take the chill off the evening as the air cools. Listen for the distant howl of coyotes as they prepare to hunt at dusk.