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Escalante and Vermillion Cliffs Off-Road Tips

Strike Valley Overlook Trail, Waterpocket Fold

Above: Don on Strike Valley Overlook Trail in Waterpocket Fold

East of Jacob’s Lake on Highway 89 you enter a magic area known at the Vermillion Cliffs.  Halfway between Page and Kanab is a Scenic Bypass called Cottonwood Canyon Road.

Gosvenor Arch off Cottonwood Road in Escalante

Above: Grosvenor Arch off Cottonwood Road in Escalante

This is an unpaved road that takes you north through stunning scenery along the Cockscomb to Bryce Canyon National Park by way of Grosvenor Arch and Kodachrome State Park – a great drive with lots of places to camp.

Cottonwood Road in Escalante, Utah

Above: Cottonwood Road in Escalante, Utah

West on Highway 89 from the Cottonwood Canyon Road is another unpaved road named Horse Rock Valley which leads south.

At the Wedge in Utah

Above: Camping at the Wedge in Utah

Just before the Arizona border is an incredible  hike through a slot canyon known as Buckskin Gulch.  There are campsites at White Pass Recreation Site, but there are lots of more desirable ones along the road to the south.

The Wave in Vermillion Cliffs

From here you can also visit an unbelievable multicolored rock formation called The Wave in the Coyote Buttes.

The Wave hike in Utah

You have to enter a lottery in Kanab the day before you want to do this.  We’ve entered it four times and have only won once, but it is not to be missed.

The Wave Maggie

Back on Highway 89 going west is a turnoff for the Paria River Valley Road, another Backroad Scenic Byway.

Pahreah, Utah in the Gypsy Wagon

Above: Paria, Utah in the Gypsy Wagon

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