Sun Valley Trail

Marble Canyon, Arizona

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This hike to the Sun Valley mine is a good introduction to the geologically unique formations of the Paria Plateau. Along this stretch of US 89A, there are six Z-gates through which you can access the Paria Canyon–Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness with your dog (dogs are not allowed in the Paria Canyon portion of the wilderness area). Not all of them have roads or official trails, but in the appropriate seasons these are beautiful areas to explore with your dog, as long as you have your cactus comb, dog booties, sun protection, and lots of water. The Sun Valley Trail is composed of compacted red dirt made of chinle shale: a soil that is often mucky after rains—but comfortable under boot and paw when dry. Soft sandstone boulders and outcroppings along your way sport erosion lines that resemble topographical maps. All around you is a wide desert, full of sages and cacti; rattlesnakes call this place home, too, so keep your dog close (on trail), so that she does not chance upon spines or fangs.

Sun Valley Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This hike to the Sun Valley mine is a good introduction to the geologically unique formations of the Paria Plateau. Along this stretch of US 89A, there are six Z-gates through which you can access the Paria Canyon–Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness with your dog (dogs are not allowed in the Paria Canyon portion of the wilderness area). Not all of them have roads or official trails, but in the appropriate seasons these are beautiful areas to explore with your dog, as long as you have your cactus comb, dog booties, sun protection, and lots of water.

The Sun Valley Trail is composed of compacted red dirt made of chinle shale: a soil that is often mucky after rains—but comfortable under boot and paw when dry. Soft sandstone boulders and outcroppings along your way sport erosion lines that resemble topographical maps. All around you is a wide desert, full of sages and cacti; rattlesnakes call this place home, too, so keep your dog close (on trail), so that she does not chance upon spines or fangs."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Marble Canyon
Distance: 2.4
Elevation Gain: 461 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Duration: 1.5 hours
Season: Best October through April
Trailhead Elevation: 4,350 feet
Top Elevation: 4,794 feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Strip Field Office
Local Maps: Emmett Wash USGS
Driving Directions: Directions to Sun Valley Trail

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May 2018