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Patrick DEBETENCOURT | profile | all galleries >> 3 weeks road trip in west USA discovering San Francisco and various national parks >> 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Lees Ferry, Cliff Dwellers, the Vermilion Cliffs... tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

3 weeks in west USA - Pictures taken during our flights from Paris to San Francisco | 3 weeks in west USA - Discovering San Francisco city | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Discovering Sausalito's houseboat community | 3 weeks in west USA - Muir beach, Stinson beach and Muir Woods NP | 3 weeks in west USA - The sea lions in the marina of San Francisco | 3 weeks in west USA - Pictures taken during ou flight to Las Vegas | 3 weeks in west USA - Discovering Las Vegas the city of sin ! | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Discovering the south rim of Grand Canyon NP | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Lees Ferry, Cliff Dwellers, the Vermilion Cliffs... | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Arround Page city : Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - A visit to lower Antelope Canyon Navajo tribal park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - A visit to upper Antelope Canyon Navajo tribal park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Aboard a Jeep Wrangler on the trails of Mystery Valley in Monument Valley NP | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Arches National Park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - On island in the sky in Canyonlands National Park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Bryce Canyon National Park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Zion National Park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Death Valley National Park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Discovering Mono Lake | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Bodie State Historic Park | Bodie ghost town in black & white | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - Yosemite National Park | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - The giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove NP | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - A visit of the Newton winery (LVMH group) | 3 weeks road trip in west USA - A balloon flight over Napa valley

3 weeks road trip in west USA - Lees Ferry, Cliff Dwellers, the Vermilion Cliffs...

Lee's Ferry is located in northern Arizona, at the point where the Paria River joins the Colorado from the north. Lying in an open valley directly downstream of Glen Canyon and shortly above Marble Canyon (the uppermost section of the Grand Canyon), it is the only place in more than 260 miles (420 km) where the Colorado is not hemmed in by sheer canyon walls, and was an important crossing point before the construction of Navajo and Glen Canyon Bridges in the 20th century.

Here, the Colorado River is also much smoother and calmer than the stretches that lie above and below, with the exception of the former Glen Canyon reach that is now flooded under Lake Powell, formed by Glen Canyon Dam 16 miles (26 km) upstream. Lee's Ferry is designated within the southwesternmost extreme of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and is considered the northernmost end of Grand Canyon National Park.

The surrounding valley formed because of a swell in the underlying rock of the Colorado Plateau that causes the regional elevation to intersect the Chinle and Moenkopi Formations, deposited in the Triassic about 208–245 million years ago.

These are composed of sandstone, siltstone, shale and limestone formed by the sediments on ancient seabeds and later alluvial deposits made by the Colorado and Paria Rivers. Because these are more easily eroded than the rock layers that lie above and below them, the Colorado Plateau gradually slopes down to river level at Lee's Ferry through a series of flat benchlands.

The Vermilion Cliffs are the second "step" up in the five-step Grand Staircase of the Colorado Plateau, in northern Arizona and southern Utah. They extend west from near Page, Arizona, for a considerable distance, in both Arizona and Utah..
112,500 acres (45,500 ha) of the region were designated as the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in 1984. An even greater area was protected within Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in 2000.

The Vermilion Cliffs are made up of deposited silt and desert dunes, cemented by infiltrated carbonates and intensely colored by red iron oxide and other minerals, particularly bluish manganese. They are in the physiographic High Plateaus Section and Canyon Lands Section of the Colorado Plateau Province.

The Vermillion Cliffs were on an important route from Utah to Arizona used by settlers during the 19th Century. The area was explored by the Mormon pioneer and missionary Jacob Hamblin, who started a ranch at the base of the cliffs in House Rock Valley. Present day U.S. Highway 89A basically follows the old wagon route past the cliffs through House Rock Valley and up the Kaibab Plateau to Jacob Lake.


Between the 13th of May and the 3rd of June 2013 we spent 3 wonderful weeks in the west part of USA. It was our first trip in this part of USA, and each day was full of surprises, with countless breathtaking landscapes.

After 3 days in San Francisco, Sausalito, and on the north coast, we made a flight to Las Vegas, to began our long road trip (3.000 miles i.e. 4.800 km and more than 70 hours driving on the wonderful scenic roads from one park to another). We had the pleasure to discover the following sites :

- Grand Canyon National Park, (the south rim part only)
- the Colorado canyon at Lees Ferry, and the Vermillion Cliffs on the road to Cliff Dwellers and Page
- the area of the city of Page (with the visit of the 2 Antelope Canyons Navajo Tribal Parks, the Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend),
- Monument valley NP (with an afternoon spent in the Mystery Valley trails with a Navajo guide driving a Jeep Wrangler)
- Arches NP
- Canyonlands NP
- Bryce canyon NP
- Zion NP
- Death Valley NP
- Bodie State Historic Park (the most famous ghost town in the USA)
- Yosemite NP and Maropisa Grove NP near Wawona
- the Napa valley with a visit of the Newton winery (LVMH group)
- early in the morning we also did a balloon flight over the vineyards
- and we stayed 2 mores days in San Francisco before leaving this great city to go back to France.

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