California condors were placed on the federal Endangered Species list in 1967. Only 22 condors were known to remain in 1982, while today the world population exceeds 400, with over 225 condors living in the wild. Approximately 75 condors reside in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. In Arizona, reintroduction is being conducted under a special provision of the Endangered Species Act that allows for the designation of a nonessential experimental population. Under this designation (referred to as the 10(j) rule) the protections for an endangered species are relaxed, providing greater flexibility for management of a reintroduction program.
Since December of 1996, program personnel have released condors every year. Each condor is fitted with radio transmitters and is monitored daily by field biologists.
To visit the condor viewing site in Arizona, drive north on Highway 89 out of Flagstaff, Arizona. Turn left onto Highway 89A toward Jacob Lake and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Drive approximately 40 miles (past Marble Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, and Cliff Dwellers lodges); turn right onto House Rock Valley Road (BLM Road 1065) just past the House Rock Valley Chain-Up Area. Travel approximately 2 miles to the condor viewing site on the right. Atop the cliffs to your east is the location where condors are released, and a good place to see condors year round. In winter months, condors frequent the Colorado River corridor near Marble Canyon, which is east of the condor viewing site on Highway 89A. In the summer months condors are seen frequently at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and at Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park north of St. George, Utah on Interstate Route 15.
Condor viewing,release activities in late September and interpretive panels.
Shade shelter, restroom, and interpretive panels including a life-sized condor display.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
There are no permits or fees. Camping is not permitted at the condor viewing site.
Currently, the restroom, shade shelter, one picnic table and the interpretive panels are accessible although the hard pack has not been completed in some locations.
Camping and Lodging
Dispersed camping is available within Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
and House Rock Valley on Arizona Strip Field Office lands at least ¼ mile from water sources and developed recreation sites. The closest campgrounds are Stateline Campground
, to the north, on BLM Road 1065, Lee’s Ferry, AZ and the Kaibab National Forest. Lodging is available in Marble Canyon and Page, AZ and Kanab, UT.
Food and Supplies
The nearest source of food and supplies is Kanab, UT, and in the communities of Marble Canyon and Page, AZ.
First aid is not available within the national monument. The nearest year-round first aid is available at Lee’s Ferry (National Park Service), approximately 40 miles east of the condor viewing site. The nearest hospital is in Page, AZ, 69 miles away.
Condor Release dates and activities are published in local newspapers and outreach programs. Condors learn their behaviors from each other, like elephants. One condor who learns a bad behavior can teach other condors the same behavior.
1) Never try to approach or feed condors. Use binoculars and spotting scopes to observe condors from a distance.
2) Never stop, excessively slow down, or view condors on Highway 89A. Use pullouts along the road to search for and view condors.
3) If you observe anyone harassing or harming a condor, immediately call:
- The Arizona Game and Fish Department:(928) 774-5045
- The Peregrine Fund: (928) 355-2270
- Bureau of Land Management: (435) 688-3200
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: (602) 640-2720
- Grand Canyon National Park:(928) 638-7779
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Monument Manager: Kevin Wright
345 E. Riverside Drive
St. George, UT 84790-6714
Hours: 7:45 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday