This post is sponsored by Corning® Gorilla® Glass
Neither had I until briefly crossing into Utah to board Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) that we drove over miles of tough wilderness with rocky and muddy trails to reach scenic vistas that revealed the beginning of the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. According to the National Park Service, over five million people visit the Grand Canyon every year. We could have joined them but instead we chose to take the road less traveled to see the area from a different vantage point that most visitors to the area never get to see.
Located in Arizona, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is 10 miles from the city of Page and just south of the Utah state line. This National Monument encompasses a vast 293,689 acres and includes the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon. The area is home to bobcats, mountain lions, coyote, antelope, big horn sheep, jack rabbits, California Condors, bald eagles, and many other species of wildlife. The hearty native plants that grow in iron rich soil have medicinal properties that were used by Native Americans who inhabited this area long ago and are still used today.
As we journeyed confidently along the dirt road wearing gloves, goggles, and helmets, down sloping hillsides and vertical climbs, and through some epic mud puddles all while raindrops fell on us through the open windows of our UTV, I could understand why this is a place that only locals visited until recently.
As I sat on the edge of Paria Canyon gazing down at the winding river that makes it way into the Colorado River off in the distance, I was enjoying the solitude a bit too much to ever want to be surrounded by others crowding my view, jostling for position to get the same shot, and chattering in my ear.
This vantage point of unspoiled wilderness was pure bliss as was the incredible silence. Hearing only the voices of my fellow travelers off in the distance as we enjoyed lunch, I secretly hoped that this extraordinary place remained exactly the same way until I can return with my family.
Should you go to the Grand Canyon? Yes.
Should you view it from another perspective? Absolutely!
When we travel to Northern Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon, I would probably stop there first before traveling to Vermillion Cliffs, Paria Canyon, and The Grand Staircase. I’d want my kids to be able to say they’ve been to the Grand Canyon but I also want them to have experiences that put some distance between them and the hoards of visitors who flock there each year. Visiting other areas provide a big picture view for a better understanding of the geologic significance of the area and bragging rights by adding another state to your vacation and in this case, a chance to cross over into Utah!
There are so many places in the world that I want my kids to experience but when we travel as a family, we enjoy straying from the beaten path to find the hidden gem of a place that makes our vacations differ from everyone else’s whether they’re nearby or far away. I love venturing away from the crowds to have authentic experiences where I can meet locals who are always happy to share more about their part of the world because it’s through the connections, conversations, and developing an understanding of each other that we can learn through our travels at any age.
Aren’t the views from Vermillion Cliffs amazing?
All photos were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and you can enter to win one of your very own to capture your next adventure!
Although our UTV ride took me through some tough terrain that included steep drops, climbs, and mud puddles, I was able to capture the harsh environment but also the incredible beauty of the area with my Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+. Whenever I pulled it out to snap a picture while bumping along in our UTV, I knew that Gorilla Glass 4 would helps protect my phone in the toughest conditions so I could always get great shots!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Although this post is sponsored as part of my participation as a member of The Corning Gorilla Glass 4 in the Desert program, all opinions are my own and based on personal experience. For full sweepstakes rules, visit this link: http://ow.ly/TEd1Q