If you are headed to Lake Powell or one of the other awesome attractions around Page, Arizona, we highly recommend taking the scenic route along Highway 89A.
It doesn’t add much time to the trip and there are some great things to see along the way including Marble Canyon, Vermillion Cliffs, forests, deserts and lots of great view points. Our favorite stop along the way, though, is the fun, unique and quirky Cliff Dweller’s Stone House..
This roadside attraction is literally on the side of the road-Hwy. 89A. You can pull off the highway, directly to a parking area. There is a main house you can explore, along with a couple smaller rooms and some cool rock formations.
Exploring the buildings is fun. They aren’t necessarily in the best condition, but the fact that they are still standing and not completely covered in graffiti is pretty amazing. You can make a quick stop and be in and out in five minutes, or you could easily kill a half hour or more.
The best part of stopping at Cliff Dweller’s Stone House is that it is a great break for the kids. Our kids love exploring all the different rooms, climbing boulders and throwing rocks. On one of our stops, there were people set up in the parking lot selling Native American jewelry and other things. Our girls loved the shopping and we ended up with a few cool items.
The best part of Cliff Dweller’s Stone House, though, can’t be found at the site. It is the history, which after you stop at the site, you will not drive very far without looking it up. Looking at these crazy structures, you will need to know. I know I was looking it up before I left. Unfortunately, I found a few different variations of the story so I won’t repeat any one of them as fact.
All the stories have the same major points the same though. Blanche Russell was the force behind creating this crazy place. She and her husband took a visit out to Marble Canyon during the Great Depression, but their car broke down a few miles from the canyon. After some camping out, the Russell’s decided to stay and built a house with what they could find.
They eventually opened up a restaurant and a gas pump. They had plenty of visitors with the tourists visiting Marble Canyon, but mostly from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints making the trek to the St. George Temple along the “Honeymoon Trail.”
We have been here a few times and always enjoyed the break. It would be nice if it was a little further from Marble Canyon to break the drive up more, but the two stops at Cliff Dweller’s and Marble Canyon really make an awesome trip.
If you are taking Highway 89A, the first or last stop along the Highway, depending which way you are headed, is the Chevron south of Fredonia. It is a great place to stop and grab a soda and some candy or ice cream and take a few pictures at the old west town in the parking lot.