Venturing into the wide open spaces of the Desert Southwest definitely can be the means for getting away from it all. No matter whether it is a scenic day trip or a week long camping expedition, the serenity of the peaceful desert setting has a way of leaving thoughts of the modern world behind. A great place to make the great desert escape happen is the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. Access to this National Monument is limited, because it takes many miles of rough dirt road driving just to get to the border of this remote place. Once inside the boundaries, the Grand Canyon Parashant offers the opportunity to experience majestic landscapes that few others have ever seen.
The Grand Canyon Parashant is rough, rugged and very remote, so there will be very little hope for rescue if the unexpected occurs. For this reason, being extra prepared is highly suggested. A 4×4 high ground clearance vehicle is required, along with one or two spare tires. Hauling an extra five gallon can of fuel is a good safety measure. Packing a two day supply of food and a five day supply of water is also suggested for even just a day trip, because it will be a very long walk back to civilization if the vehicle breaks down. As long as the vehicle is reliable and preparations are made, a trip into the remote Grand Canyon Parashant can go off without a hitch.
The reason the forewarning was mentioned is because the Grand Wash is one of the most remote destinations in the vast Grand Canyon Parashant. Just like the name suggests, the Grand Wash is a gigantic wide desert dry wash that carries water downhill from southwestern Utah to the Colorado River, just east of Lake Mead. The Grand Wash Bay is like a gigantic flood plain, so it is easy to imagine that this is not the place to be if rain is in the forecast. The entire Grand Wash is subject to powerful flash floods and the road will turn into impassible mud if it rains, so it is best to cancel the trip if the forecast calls for wet weather.
On a dry day, a trip into the Grand Wash can be like a walk in the park! Most of the dirt road is smooth and the trip does not get bumpy till entering the lower dry wash basin. However, after a recent rain, all bets are off. The dirt road can be a real nightmare after a storm, because of washouts and displaced boulders.
The scenery along CR 111 and CR 113 from Pakoon Springs to the Grand Wash is as pristine as can be and the views stretch out to the horizon. Occasionally the dirt road winds its way along colorful red sandstone canyon walls and a few old volcanic cinder cones can be seen. Where the road goes through the dry wash basin narrows, it starts to meander like a snake, because the huge boulders that were deposited by flash floods act as an obstacle course. It is easy to recognize the Grand Wash Bay destination upon arrival, because this is where the rugged dry wash flattens out into a vast flood plain. The dirt road veers east toward the historic Tassi Ranch and Grand Wash Bay from this point, but the round trip to those neighboring destinations will add considerable mileage, so it is best to check the fuel supply before taking on that option.
Miles and miles of large rocks and boulders are scattered across this flood plain and each has a story to tell. Some of the rocks come from Zion, while others were carried by flood waters from nearby ancient volcanoes. Some rocks show mineralization, while others look like polished semiprecious gemstones. The Grand Wash Bay is like a geology detective’s dream come true and the peaceful desert environment is as captivating as can be!
Primitive pack it in-pack it out camping at existing campsites is allowed in the Grand Canyon Parashant. There is a nice existing campsite along the short dirt access road on the east side of the Grand Wash. The two previously published articles, Whitney Pockets Road To Aravada Springs and Aravada Springs To Pakoon Springs, will be of help to those who want to make the Grand Wash 4×4 trip happen. As mentioned earlier, it does take careful preparation to make a safe venture happen and all can go well if precautions are taken. The Grand Canyon Parashant is the land of majestic desert adventures and this is reason enough to get up and go!
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