Vermillion Cliffs Scenic Drive
Drive up and into the stunning Vermillion Cliffs, a scenic, raised plateau in far northern Arizona and west of Page. Pass towering red cliffs before ending at White Pocket near the Utah border.
Where to go:
From Page, AZ – head south on US-89 for 23 miles. Turn right onto US-89A and head northwest. The road crosses Marble Canyon over the Colorado River (last gas stop). After 42 miles, turn right onto House Rock Rd. The turn is easy to miss but has a few residences/vehicles on the north side of the road. From Jacob Lake, AZ – head east on US-89A. The road is very curvy and downhill much of the way so go slow. After 13.8 miles turn left onto House Rock Rd.
From Highway 89A, head north on the graded House Rock Rd. The trail immediately passes through a private, residential area and then crosses a cattle guard. The road remains wide, smooth, and uneventful as it heads nearly due north. The views improve as you begin to parallel the Vermillion Cliffs off to the right. At 1.6 miles, cross into Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Off to the right at 2.8 miles is a condor viewing site and has informational signs, a pull off area, and a vaulted toilet. Continue northwest.
The trail passes through another section of private property – ignore numerous side roads. At 9.3 miles the trail splits near an old corral. Make an important right turn onto BLM 1017. The road continues to climb as you head east up and into the Vermillion Cliffs. The road surface remains fairly smooth. Stay straight at 12.3 miles and continue to ignore numerous, lesser side roads. The road splits again at 15.4 miles at an old ranch. Continue to the left through the ranch property. Do not stop or park within a ¼ mile of the buildings. The road follows a corral fence and gets rougher in spots leaving the ranch.
Past the ranch, the road makes a left turn to head back north. Road conditions continue to deteriorate as the road becomes BLM 1087. Expect numerous sections of fine, moderately deep sand as well as several washed out parts with small rock ledges. High clearance vehicles with aired down tires and momentum can manage in 2WD. The trail splits at 19.3 miles – stay left. Shortly after you’ll pass through a gate at the 19.8 mile mark. The views continue to improve as you begin to pass small outcrops of white rock. The trail remains sandy and rocky as it heads downhill.
Stay left at 24.3 miles as road joins from the right. The trail passes through an old corral, then a cattle guard before arriving at a large parking area at 24.8 miles. White Pocket is now visible to the west. A short hike is required to explore this geologic oddity. This is the primary destination for most and there are numerous camping and hiking spots nearby. Additional parking and camping is available by continuing north on the dilapidated road, but with deep sandy sections, 4WD is required past the main parking area.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
Pavement-to-pavement this trail is right about 50 miles total, not including any side trips. One-way, allow for about 1-3 hours depending on how much you stop. Allow for considerable time and even consider camping at or near White Pocket to allow proper time to explore the area. We’ve rated this trail “5.5” out of “10”. High-clearance is required. 4WD recommended although not completely necessary with an appropriate vehicle & experienced driver sticking to the main route. Passenger cars should not attempt BLM 1087. This area is very remote so bring extra water/food. Cell service is sparse to none-existent. Even being a popular tourist destination, it could be several hours before you see another vehicle depending on the time of year. This trail is open year ‘round but because of the elevation (~5000’), can receive snow in the cooler months. This trip is very rewarding when you travel prepared!