Ada’s Adorable Abode
Ada’s Adorable Abode
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Forest River Cherokee Limited 5th Wheel
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Although this region of Arizona was already under management and protection of the United States government, it didn’t have real protection until President Clinton extended a proclamation in 2000 that recategorized it as a national monument. Archeologists have found evidence of human settlements that are at least 12,000 years old. There are also rock art and petroglyphs that are believed to be the oldest in the United States.
Though there are a handful of towns around Vermilion Cliffs National Monument with a gas station, the best bet for restaurants, shopping, and a hospital is Page, which is a little over 60 miles to the northeast. Close to Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, and several other geological wonders, Page has transformed from a sleepy town to a thriving outdoor tourism town in recent decades.
Encompassing almost 300,000 acres, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a geological wonder that exists in very few other places around the world. The National Monument covers four distinct areas: the Paria Canyons, Paria Plateau (sometimes referred to as White Pocket area), Vermilion Cliffs, and Coyote Buttes. The Vermilion Cliffs are comprised of layers upon layers of sandstone, siltstone, shale, and limestone, somehow blending together into a rich, soft red and orange rocks that climb into towering buttes. This same combination of stones wasn’t mixed as thoroughly, instead of forming distinct layers of waves that can be found at Paria Canyon and Coyote Buttes.
There are no paved roads or trails. One needs to simply pick a direction and go. All adventurers should be prepared for harsh conditions. There is no water, and help is very far away. A well-stocked first-aid kit, extra fuel, water, and food are recommended.
As harsh as this area is, it teems with life. There are over 20 species of raptor birds living and hunting in the area, including golden eagles and bald eagles. California condors were re-introduced to the area in 2015, and due to their endangered status, they will be monitored carefully for several years. Pronghorns, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions make their homes in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Hikers also should expect to see snakes and other reptiles, some of which are venomous or poisonous.
Bordering Vermilion Cliffs National Monument on the west side is Kaibab National Forest, which encompasses over 1.6 million acres of desert wilderness. The region is a mix of desert and forest, depending on water availability. Though there are several miles of hiking trails, adventurers can go exploring on their own. However, be mindful that, due to the rough terrain and remoteness, they should be very experienced at reading maps and orienteering.
Far from the closest hotel, it’s smart to rent an RV and skip the long drive. Unfortunately, due to the fragile geological features, there is no RV camping at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, even though it’s operated by the Bureau of Land Management (most BLM lands allow RV camping; this park is one of the few exceptions). However, there are a few options just outside the park boundaries.
RV camp at Stateline, which is found at the northern end of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. A few miles south of Kanab, it’s a primitive campground with seven sites for RVs, though there are pit toilets and huts that are used for shade.
Alternatively, Jacob Lake Campground outside Fredonia, AZ, is a primitive campground. Set in picturesque woods, each RV site has a fire ring, and faucets with drinking water. There are wheelchair-accessible vault toilets, too, and satellite TV is available.
Far from civilization, it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything other than hiking in this remote corner of Arizona. Towns are few and far in between, and the roads are long. The journey is effortless in a rental motorhome. Head to Marble Canyon, AZ, which is near Lee’s Ferry, a historic site. Pioneers used the ferry to cross the mighty river on their long, perilous journey to California.
Many small towns have historical societies and museums that honor their community’s heritage, culture, and history. The Red Pueblo Museum in Fredonia spotlights both pioneer settlers and the ancient, long-gone civilizations that once dwelled in Arizona. The exhibits display an extensive collection of arrowheads, pottery, and other Native American artifacts
At the end of a long day, kick up your heels outside an Airstream rental and look skyward. Thanks to the dry air and minimal light pollution, the night sky is very clear, and it’s easy to discern several celestial bodies with the naked eye. Find your perfect RV camping adventure in this remote corner of Arizona when you book an RV in Coconino County.