Soap Creek Tank and The Beehives, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ


 

In march, 2014, we went into the Vermilion Cliffs NM together with some good friends to visit the Soap Creek Tank area and the close by Beehives. While Soap Creek Tank sees regular visitors, The Beehives is not that popular. Besides those two locations, we also visited an overlook at the rim. The trail to that overlook is not on any topo map.

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On a wonderful morning we went from US89A on House Rock Valley Rd. towards the Coral Valley entrance of the Vermilion Cliffs NM.
We followed Pine Tree Rd. to drive into Pinnacle Valley. The left fork on this picture leads towards the Pinnacle Valley Ranch. The right one goes to a Water Tank in Pinnacle Valley. From there, there is a shortcut on the other side of this valley.
We went left, down into Pinnacle Valley.
Nice scenery along the way.
The ranch in front of us. On the ridge in the background, the pinnacle is located.
We arrived at the ranch.
A closer look to where the pinnacle is located.
The ongoing road through Pinnacle Valley.
At the second fork, we went left. The trail at the first fork leads towards Middle Reservoir and the upper route.
View...
View...
Here we went to the right. The road does left brings one to Joe´s Ranch.
After some time, we went on a lesser trail to the left. The road, which goes straight at that point, goes to the southwestern overlooks.
This is the road, going up to Soap Creek Tank.
The road drops down at the end into Soap Creek Tank. This road is steep and sandy, so if one drives down, he should be sure to be able to drive up again.
Soap Creek Tank...
Nice formations.
Soap Creek Tank...
Scenery...
...and formations.
Cool looking formation.
Some hoodoos...
Up there is "The Altar".
Soap Creek Tank...
This is the road out of Soap Creek Tank.
This is a huge area with a lot of hiking possibilities.
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Up there is the back entry of Soap Creek Tank, which can be reached from another side trail.
View...
Soap Creek Tank...
The jeeps parking down there.
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
The parking spot...
Soap Creek Tank...
Soap Creek Tank...
After some time we left and went in the first side trail to the left, which is a dead end. At the end of the trail is an Indian watch tower. One has to climb up to see the ruin leftovers.
Indian ruins on the watch tower...
Indian ruins on the watch tower...
The jeeps below us...
Indian ruins on the watch tower...
Shane, enjoying the view together with Chico.
The watch tower from below.
After some time we left and went into another side trail on the other side of the main access road. The last part of that road is not on any topo map. It leads to an outstanding overlook at the rim. This rim overlook is above Cliff Dwellers.
View from the overlook.
View...
Scenery...
Marble Canyon below us...
View...
View...
View...
View...
Marble Canyon in the background.
Towards west...
Group shot...
After some time, we left and stopped at the "back entry" of Soap Creek Tank.
Views from here...
View...
We went back to the main road and turned left. We followed the road until we arrived at the turn off of a lesser road to the right. This road is closed now. So we hiked in (about 0.5 miles) and visited 'The Beehives'.
This is again a pretty interesting and not often visited area.
At one of the wall faces is some Indian painting. I think (but don´t know) this is some Barrier Style rock art.
rock art...
rock art...
This is the wall with the paintings.
This is also some kind of watch area. The views are incredible.
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In one of this rock outcroppings is an Indian granary.
View away from the granary.
The granary is in pretty good shape.
Granary...
Granary...
View...
On top of those mesas are also some left overs from Indian culture.
This is the way up on one of the mesas.
On top of the mesa...
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Here one can also download a gpx file of this trip:

Tracklog: Soap Creek Tank and The Beehives, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ (110 downloads)

The following map shows the trail:

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