The Book Cliffs is a mountain range that covers nearly 200 miles from where the Colorado River descends south through De Beque Canyon into the Grand Valley to Price Canyon. This mountain range is largely composed of sedimentary materials. The name of the range comes from the cliffs of Cretaceous sandstones which cap many south facing buttes that appear similar to a shelf of books.
The Book Cliffs provide scenery ranging from the red rock often seen in Southern Utah to the usual green color of the Northern Alpine regions. The altitude ranges from around 8000 feet to 4500 feet, the differing altitude providing a variety of colors and smells. It begins about 50 air miles south of Vernal, Utah and extends south to the Book Cliffs divide. Towards the east is the Colorado/Utah state line. The Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation is on the west side of the Book Cliffs. Both southern Uintah County and northern Grand County are included.
Approximately 70% of the area is administered by the BLM, 25% by the School and Institutional Trust Land Administration (SITLA), and 5% is private.
Valuable Resources and Uses
The Book Cliffs area is uniquely rich in both renewable and nonrenewable resources. Resource values include a variety of recreation pursuits, and also includes abundant wildlife, hydrocarbon resources, livestock grazing, and a small timber resource.
Energy and Mineral Resources are Significant
The Book Cliffs area - south of the White River - is rich in energy and mineral resources. There is oil, gas, Gilsonite, oil shale, tar sands, building stone, sand, and gravel.
Elk, Deer and Other Native Wildlife are Abundant
Wildlife species in the area include mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, antelope, mountain lion, black bear, waterfowl, shorebirds, blue and sage grouse, golden eagle, numerous hawks and owls, as well as many species of small mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. On occasion, moose, bison and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep may be observed.