Southwest Route, Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

This trip we did in march 2012 together with a friend from the Phoenix area. It leads to the southwest rim region of the Paria Plateau. We had to cross Pinnacle Valley and went along the ‘White Knolls’, before we reached the rim. Two of the rim overlooks (One Toe Ridge and the rim above Bonal Springs) we had already seen in 2011.

 The weather forecast was not really promising for this day. As we left our room at Lee´s Ferry Lodge this morning, it wasn´t looking really nice.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Mike, our companion for this trip, suggested to try it. So we started along US89A towards House Rock Valley Road. Along the Vermilion Cliffs a lot of snow was seen:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Towards the west also a lot os snow could be seen that day:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

At 12S 40660X 406558X (UTM/NAD27) we turned to the right on House Rock Valley Road. Directly after leaving US89A the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument begins:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We were following House Rock Valley Road…

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

…until we reached the turnoff to Coral Valley at 12S 40525X 408007X. Now we were following Pine Tree Road:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We passed the ranch at the turnoff to Big Sink Valley…

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

… and stayed straight on Pine Tree Road towards Pinnacle Valley:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Soon we reached Pinnacle Valley and dropped down into it via the left trail there:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here a few nice rock sculptures along the trail:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We are continuing on our way down into Pinnacle Valley:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

The ranch was also visible from the trail:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We had a short stop at the ranch and tried to discover the vicinity:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

After some time we decided to go ahead:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

At 12S42257X 407375X there is a turnoff to the left towards Cathedral Valley. We continued straight and turned then left at the next turnoff at 12S42266X 407222X. We were following this trail to the left into a valley. This trail also leads to Joe´s Ranch.

We continued on an easy trail:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here a short view on our jeeps:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here was also some nice scenery visible:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

At 12S42720X 407408X had to decide , whether we want to go left or right. As I knew, that the trail to the left leads to Joe´s Ranch, we turned on the trail to the right.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here the trail points straight towards the rim region:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We climbed up in altitude and because of that we also saw some more snow around us:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Partly the trail was barely visible. The positive thing was, that it was easy to drive on the snow.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We were driving and driving and reached after some time the White Knolls region. We were driving around the edge there…

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

…and followed the trail more or less parallel to the Vermilion Cliffs rim. The weather also got now much better.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

At 12S 42606X 406563X we arrived at the turnoff to the first overlook, we had planned to see:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

From there we had a great view:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

There was also a tank down there:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

And nice ‘cloud’ pictures towards the west:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Mike while doing some climbing:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here a few more pictures from region to give some impression about what to see here:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

After continuing on the trail, we met one more turnoff at 12S42555X 406473X, where a short trail to the rim was starting:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Before we started again a picture of Astrid, Mike and our jeeps:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

The ongoing trail looses some altitude and the snow also got less. The trail was at that time pretty much easy to drive here.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

At 12S42274X 406507X we turned on a trail to the third overlook, we had planned to visit. Here one can also have outstanding views to the vicinity.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Marble Canyon is also visible:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

And here a view to the west:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Down there is House Rock Valley Road:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

And here a view more pictures from the vicinity:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

After having been back on the main trail, we continued into northerly direction:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

At 12S41953X 407006X we arrived at the trail onto One Toe Ridge. This trail leads down to the crack at the rim:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

After a mile or so, we arrived at the wilderness study area boundary and had to hike from here. We were following the old road for around 1 – 1.5 miles….

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

…before we reached the crack:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here also a few pictures from the vicinity:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

The old road continues to the left side of the road. But as it was very cold and pretty stormy this day, we decided to walk back to the jeeps. Back on the main route, we followed the trail towards Jarvis Ranch.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Jarvis Ranch is located roughly at 12S41923X 407071X. Here is also a trail turning off to the right, which goes down into Pinnacle Valley. The ranch itself is still in pretty good shape.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We again went further straight as we wanted to show Mike two more scenic overlooks, which we already visited last year.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

With this in mind, we drove until reaching the position 12S41615X 407049X. Here we turned to the left to reach again One Toe Ridge.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

The trail ends again at the WSA boundery and we had to walk a short distance towards the rim:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

From the north a storm came in, but this did not prevent us from exploring the area here:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Towards the south, the weather was still good:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here a few more pictures from the area here:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

As it got more and more stormy, we decided to leave.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

We followed the trail back to the main route and turned left there. AS it started to snow, we decided not to go the next overlook above Bonal Springs. Instead of this we have choosen the trail to the right at the next for, which leads down to Pine Tree Road. On the next picture you can see the trail going straight leads to the  Bonal Springs Rim region.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

The following pictures show the way back down to Pine Tree Road:

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

After some time we met Pine Tree Road and followed this road to the left towards Coral Valley.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Being back on House Rock Valley Road we had again a nice view up the rim, where we had been aroudn on this day.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Shortly before sunset we were back at US89A, where we had to air-up our tires. After this we went back to Lee´s Ferry Lodge and had a good dinner and a good beer at the end of the day.

South West Route, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ

Here one can also download a gpx file of this trip:

Tracklog: Southwest Rim Region, Vermilion Cliffs NM (97 downloads)

And the map gives an overview over the region, we visited:

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