Roads often sandy so progress can be slow.
Ryan "Tuna Helper" Weidert
Although this route admittedly involves lots of sandy roads (and listening to an audiobook was key), there are some interesting ranch buildings, rock formations and indian artifacts to break up the monotony. And then when you finally cross the plateau and the edge of the Vermillion Cliffs suddenly drops before you presenting panoramic views of the upper part of the Grand Canyon, Page, Navajo Mountain and the San Francisco Peaks, it all becomes more than worth it. Our route passed three semi-abandoned ranches, the first (Bush Head Reservior) had clear water, the second was dry best I could tell, and the third Joes Ranch, had a spring, large reservior and amazing rock formations. All three ranches had buildings that would provide some degree of shelter in an emergency. There are many road junctions up on the plateau so it is crucial to have a GPS or good navigation. From the climb out of the Paria Canyon, head for Bush Head Reservoir (on topo maps) and pick up a sandy road. From this point stay on roads until heading cross-country from Joe's Ranch to another road. Once most of the way across the plateau, we veered off the road and found a great place to camp near the edge of the cliff. In my opinion this is one of the best places to appreciate the Grand Canyon; here at the head of its Marble Canyon it has the appearance of a narrow crack rifting open a flat earth. The next time you see the Grand Canyon is at North Rim or Nankoweap where it appears dramatically different- as the infamous tiered layer cake of geological time spread out over a vast and deep expanse of complex spires and tributaries. More great views are to be had near the top of the Sand Hill Crack route. This route is 25.0 miles from the top of the Bush Head route to the top of the Sand Hills Crack route.