These sheer cliffs, a striking red, appear to burst into flames at sunrise and sunset. The cliffs dominate the northern horizon for many miles; a hilltop pullout 11 miles east of Jacob Lake on US 89A offers the best view. John Wesley Powell described them as "a long bank of purple cliffs plowed from the horizon high into the heavens."
Marble Canyon Lodge
The 1926 lodge (928/355-2225 or 800/726-1789) is on US 89A at the turnoff for Lees Ferry. You can stay in motel rooms ($54 s, $64-70 d), a cottage ($86 with 4 beds), or two-bedroom apartments ($134). The restaurant (daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $10-22) serves American food. Other services include a store (Native American crafts, regional books, and supplies for camping, river-running, and fishing), post office, laundry, coin showers, gas station, convenience store, and a paved airstrip. Major John Wesley Powell named the nearby section of Colorado River canyon for its smooth, marblelike appearance. Marble Canyon Outfitters (928/355-2245 or 800/533-7339, www.mcg-leesferry.com) offers guided trips and a shop for anglers.
Lees Ferry Lodge at Vermilion Cliffs
The lodge (928/355-2231 or 800/451-2231, www.leesferrylodge.com, $47 s, $53 d and up) offers motel rooms, two-bedroom units, and an American restaurant (daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $10-23). It's on US 89A, three miles west of Marble Canyon and 38 miles east of Jacob Lake. Ambassador Guide Services (800/256-7596, www.ambassadorguides.com) provides guides and a fly shop for anglers.
Badger Canyon-Marble Canyon Overlook
A dirt road leads to the edge of precipitous cliffs where these two canyons meet. The cold waters of the Colorado glide below. You may see river runners bouncing through Badger Creek Rapid or camped on the shore. Jackass Canyon meets Marble Canyon on the opposite side. There's no sign for the turnoff on US 89A, but it's on the left just 0.1 mile southwest (toward Jacob Lake) from Lees Ferry Lodge. Go through a gate and continue two miles to road's end. On the way you'll have views of Badger Canyon. Endangered cacti live here, so keep to the existing road and pullouts when driving or camping.
Cliff Dweller's Lodge
About 1890, Anglo traders built an unusual trading post underneath a giant boulder. You can still see the old buildings beside the modern establishment. The lodge (928/355-2228 or 800/433-2543, $60-70 d, less in winter) has an American restaurant with a shaded patio (daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $12-26), a small store, and a gas station. It's on US 89A, nine miles west of Marble Canyon and 32 miles east of Jacob Lake. Lee's Ferry Anglers Guides & Fly Shop (928/355-2261 or 800/962-9755, www.leesferry.com) has fishing guides and supplies.
San Bartolome Historic Site
Markers tell the story of the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition, which camped near here in 1776. Returning from a failed attempt to reach Monterey, California, the group struggled to find a route through the forbidding terrain to Santa Fe. The site is signed on the north side of US 89A between Mileposts 557 and 558, about midway between Marble Canyon and Jacob Lake.
On to Paria Canyon—Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness