Once you cross Navajo Bridge over Marble Canyon SR89A turns to the west leaving Echo Cliffs behind and parallels the towering Vermilion Cliffs, part of the 294,000-acre Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.
A stop at the Navajo Bridge visitor center offers information, books and postcard sales. A walk onto the pedestrian bridge allows for a look 467 feet down into the Colorado River where you might see boats heading down stream.
And also look for California condors possibly soaring overhead or roosting under the bridge. I didn’t see any on this stop but have before.
The stone house just before Cliff Dwellers is not an ancient native dwelling although Navajos often set up tables with items for sale. Around 1927, Blanche Russell’s car broke down near here and she liked the area so bought the property and built this stone house in the 1930’s.
Appropriately named for their color the Vermilion Cliffs get that red tone from iron oxide. Other colors show off in the many layers along the cliff face like tan and maroon sandstone, blues from manganese, gray and green shale, purple volcanic ash, and dark reddish brown siltstone and mudstone. Ancient deposits from lakes, streams, mud flats and sand dunes form this 3,000-foot escarpment.
The western end of the cliffs bend northward along House Rock Valley just before the climb up onto the Kaibab Plateau which takes you to Jacob Lake and the turn off to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Although the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument doesn’t offer many roads people have long traveled adjacent to the cliffs. In the 1800s, Mormon pioneers followed almost the same route as SR89A does today. Known as the Honeymoon trail because traveling couples were headed to Salt Lake City to marry.
What scenic highways have you driven lately?
Geogypsy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com