Travel advice needed
December 29, 2012 6:45 PM   Subscribe

travel advice needed: Has anyone visited Vermillion Cliffs National Monument?

Planning a trip to visit Vermilion Cliffs National Monument near the AZ-UT border in February. Wondering if anyone has been out there during this time of year-- was there snow? Conditions of the road? How did you getyour permit?

We have a volvo station wagon.. A dog (heard it will need a permit too??).. Camping (recommended areas?)

I,ve read a few blogs mentioning that getting in during jan/feb is do-able because its low season, but would like to confirm this and what your experience was like.

Thanks everyone! Happy holidays!
posted by melizabeth to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
This BLM website should help. Note that there are lots of places in the surrounding area that you can camp, without a permit (I'm not sure if you can have a campfire or not), but it'll be COLD (read: near/below freezing). There shouldn't be much, if any snow though. The biggest thing I'd be aware of is that it is kinda in the middle of nowhere, so be well prepared with groceries/water/first aid before you go! I've only driven through, so have no personal recommendations to give. Have fun/good luck!
posted by csox at 8:02 PM on December 29, 2012

Make sure to go see The Wave at Coyote Buttes while you're out there.
posted by cnc at 10:56 PM on December 29, 2012

There may or may not be snow. It's high desert and does get snow but also gets a lot of sun. You need to bring plenty of water - it is drier than you might think up there and it's also at altitude. Sunscreen is also a must. There are other places to see out in that area, such as Zion, but the north rim of the Grand Canyon will be closed. If you're not camping, I highly recommend the Quail Park Lodge in Kanab; about $90 a night but it's a great place.
posted by azpenguin at 7:57 AM on December 30, 2012

I lived in Flagstaff for 15 years and am pretty familiar with the place. Weather can be sunny and warm or it can be a blizzard that time of year. Usually it is warm enough during the day but the temperature will plummet as soon as the sun goes down. It is fairly high in elevation (5000 ft or so) and be prepared for that if you aren't used to it. Make sure you keep as full a tank of gas as you can as gas stations or really any store isn't real common. It is beautiful country, but dry and harsh. There are also lots of wildlife in the area. Bears, cougars, and lots of coyotes, deer (the world record mule deer was taken on the north rim near there), elk, raptors of all kinds (lots of bald eagles also) and the California condors are doing really well on the vermilion cliffs. They are huge and kinda scary if you get close to them (they use projectile vomiting as a defense mechanism so be careful). And take lots and lots of water, there isn't any dependable source outside of wells around there (or the Colorado river).
posted by bartonlong at 11:16 AM on December 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend calling the BLM management office. I have never visited, but I have talked to the folks in the office -- (435) 688-3200 -- they're really nice. And out in those wilder areas of the US West, they would much rather chat with you for 15 minutes than have you show up unprepared in a way they could have helped you prevent.
posted by purpleclover at 3:20 PM on December 30, 2012

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