A Hidden Gem in Arizona: The Rainbow Valley

March 4, 2021 My Solo Trip, The most beautiful places in North America

The Rainbow Valley in Arizona is one of those unknown places that they usually do not appear in the tourist guides and not too many people know about them.

Its colorful hills are hard to see from the distance

The Rainbow Valley is not a park but within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This is a protected area with the United States government’s national monument status.

Finding this little valley is not easy. Even on Google, it is difficult to locate. There are only three references to this site, with very little information and very few images that are not shocking enough that one decides to look for it. The truth is that we got there due to a series of mistakes and misinformation because initially, we were going to the Grand Canyon.

My family had taken a few days off to meet me in Page, Arizona. We went to the Lake Powell visitor center looking for information, and they informed us that the North entrance was open (it was February 2021.) We asked why the website said it was closed, and the lady told us it was a mistake, that the facilities and restaurants were closed, but the entrance to the park and the road were open.  We decided to follow her instructions because this would save us several hours of travel.

Route 89A to the North Rim

We left very early, took route 89 A, crossed the desert, and began climbing up the mountains. The landscape was absolutely beautiful and little by little. The small bushes gave way to the trees on both sides of the road.

Soon, the snow covered the forest ground, the sky was blue, and we enjoyed the beautiful, enchanted landscape. Everything seemed to be going perfectly.

The road was really icy

But then, I started to feel uneasy, there was a lot of ice on the pavement, and I could see that the road hadn’t been treated. As we reached the summit, we found a barricade announcing that the road was closed! There was a small hotel close by, and we entered for information.

Small Hotel at the top of the mountain

We were just a few miles from the North Rim, but the road had been closed every year, from October 15th to May 15th. It was never open during the extended winter season. The lady at the visitor center was wrong. The hotel was really pretty, and I wanted to post it here because it is such a beautiful place that I would love to come back and stay for a few days.

Our trip for that day was canceled because it was too late to go to the Grand Canyon. We knew we needed a change of plans and returned to the desert. Once in the valley, we saw a small detour from a dirt road and decided to take it. Click here to see the Google Information.

The road is impassable when wet.
My ever-trusted companion

The sign said, “Vermillion Cliffs,” and the road was called “House Rock Road.” It is one of those dirt roads to go in a 4×4 vehicle. Fortunately, it was dry and dusty, although very bad. But that adds emotion to the adventure!

The Vermillion Cliffs on the right

It runs parallel to a Vermillion Cliffs rock formation, so we enjoyed the amazing view.

After a long drive, we decided to stop to have a picnic. We set up our blanket on the sand, and while we were eating, we saw some colored hills in the distance.

We decided to start walking toward the hills.

This place has no signs, no entrance, no parking. There is not a trail either. Our GPS and trail apps were not working, and we couldn’t find it on Google without an internet signal. But we wanted so much to see these colored mountains.

It is easy to get confused about finding the right direction

We walked for a while, trying to orient ourselves in the maze of small canyons, hills, fences, and footprints on the parched, cracked ground.

What a beautiful sight!

Suddenly, when we came out of a small canyon, there they were! It was one of those moments in which we were speechless because one thing is to see them from afar, where the colors look quite unreal, and it is hard to know if they result from an illusion or because of the way the light was striking them.

The earth’s colors are so bright and vivid
Every place you look at is amazing
The colors change as the sun and the clouds move
It is hard to imagine how these colors have endured the passing of time
The Vermillion Cliffs in the back give an orange touch to the scene

But as we got closer, we saw that the earth had those fantastic colors. It is like entering another dimension, where everything is possible, and those crazy colors and textures are real.

Everywhere you look, you find different colors.

To see this extraordinary land up close, I invite you to check out the image gallery, where you can appreciate how the minerals, the rain, and the floods created this wonderful work of art. Please follow the link below.

Comments

2 responses to “A Hidden Gem in Arizona: The Rainbow Valley”

  1. I hope no one comes to THE unincorporated town of Rainbow Valley, AZ expecting to see these views!

    I was questioning my sanity, as well as yours when viewing your photos, then I read that you were referring to an area within the Grand Canyon. 😂

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