|Virgin River Gorge in Arizona
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The scenic Virgin River Gorge is in northwest Arizona at the corner of Arizona, Utah and Nevada. The scenic
4-lane Interstate Highway I-15 follows the Virgin River for 14 miles through the bottom of the spectacular
deep Virgin River Gorge. There are numerous pull-outs along the highway where visitors can safely park for
sightseeing, hiking, or climbing.
In our 2010 Tour of fantastic Southwest USA, we drove through this spectacular section of I-15 along Virgin
River Gorge twice: (1) On June 1, 2010, we drove north on I-15 to go from Las Vegas in Nevada to Kolob
Canyon in Zion National Park in Utah, and (2) On June 8, 2010, we drove south on I-15 to go from St.
George in Utah to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
The Virgin River is the water system that is responsible for carving some of the gorgeous main canyons in Zion
National Park in Utah that attracts about 3 million visitors every year. After leaving Zion National Park and
flowing southwest, the Virgin River then cuts through the Virgin Mountains and Beaver Dam Mountains to
create the spectacular Virgin River Gorge reminiscent of the Grand Canyon carved by Colorado River with
eroded, stepped cliffs and terraces of sandstone and limestone.
After leaving the Virgin River Gorge and passing the towns of Beaver Dam and Littlefield, the Virgin River
enters southern Nevada near the town of Mesquite and empties into the Colorado River at the Lake Mead
reservoir, approximately 40 miles east of Las Vegas. The last 30 miles of the Virgin River forms the north arm
of Lake Mead. In other words, Virgin River is one of the tributaries of the mighty Colorado River.
Near the lower end of the Virgin River Gorge is some of the most challenging rock climbing in the United
States. Climbers worldwide come to climb the legendary limestone in this narrow gorge. The Virgin River
Gorge Recreation Area, run by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Cedar Pocket Rest Area lies
halfway through the gorge at Milepost 18 (Cedar Pockets exit ).
It is believed that the Virgin River was named "La Virgen" by Spanish Catholic Missionaries in honor of the
After the arrival of Mormon settlers in the mid-1800s, this deep gorge became the Mormon Corridor, funneling
travelers between Utah and California. It also became a popular wagon route for many traders, settlers and
miners headed to California. Eventually, settlements developed above and below the Gorge, but the canyon
itself remained uninhabited
On June 1, 2010, after we drove through the spectacular Virgin River Gorge and continue north on scenic I-15,
we saw many beautiful wild flowers on the roadside along I-15. These two pictures of wild flowers were taken
while our car was running on I-15 at the typical highway speed of about 65 miles per hour.
A 6-minute movie clip of a morning drive on this scenic I-15 through the spectacular Virgin River Gorge can be
seen at the following YouTube website:
After we finished touring the Valley of Fire on June 8, 2010, we drove south to Hememway Park in Boulder
City, Nevada near Lake Mead and Hoover Dam to take a look of the wild desert bighorn sheep grazing on the
lawn in Hemenway Park. This park is near a desert mountain and wild desert bighorn sheep often come down
from the harsh desert mountain to this park to enjoy the lush green grass in this park. The first time I visited
Hemenway Park was on November 6, 2006 and we saw a pair of desert bighorn sheep. On my second visit on
June 8, 2010, Wow! We saw at least 50 wild desert bighorn sheep grazing on the lawn in this park. I took
several pictures of the large number of bighorn sheep and added them at the end of my Travelogue web page
We then drove to Las Vegas to enjoy a nice dinner of seafood buffet in a Casino. Next morning on June 9,
2010, we returned our rental car at Las Vegas airport and flew back to New Jersey. This completes our 10-
day 2010 Tour of fantastic Southwest USA.
Our 10-Day 2010 Tour Route of Southwest USA is a large loop starting and ending in Las Vegas in Nevada,
USA. The sequence of fantastic Point-Of-Interest (POIs) on this large loop is:
Las Vegas in Nevada --------> Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park in Utah ---------> Cedar Break National
Monument in Utah --------> Red Canyon State Park in Utah --------> Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah
--------> Scenic Byway 12 through beautiful Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument in Utah --------> Scenic
Burr Trail and southern Part of Capital Reef National Park in Utah --------> Goblin Valley State Park in Utah
--------> Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah --------> Canyonland National Park in Utah ---------> Arches
National Park in Utah --------> Goosenecks State Park in Utah --------> Monument Valley in Arizona -------->
Antelope Canyons in Arizona --------> Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge over Colorado River in Arizona -------->
Horseshoe Bend of Colorado River in Arizona ---------> Navajo Bridge over Colorado River in Arizona
Scenic Highway 89-ALT from east to west along beautiful Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona
--------> Grand Canyon - North Rim in Arizona --------> Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada --------->
Hemenway Park in Boulder City in Nevada ---------> Las Vegas in Nevada.
The Black-And-White Virgin River Gorge as a sharp contrast to the nearby fiery-colored Valley of Fire. The
Virgin River Gorge is along Interstate Highway I-15 and is about 40 miles northeast of Valley of Fire State
How I use information age technologies to enhance my enjoyment greatly of sightseeing large driving tour loop
of thousands of miles and of one to two weeks in duration covering many Points of Interest is described on
my web page at: