Edmaier's Secret – Big Water, Utah - Atlas Obscura

Edmaier's Secret

Big Water, Utah

This hidden gem in Arizona is truly worth the rugged journey. 


Edmaier’s Secret is a natural sandstone formation located in northern Arizona, specifically within the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area near Big Water, Utah. Although it is near the Wave, it is outside the North Coyote Buttes area that requires winning a permit in a lottery. It is a hidden gem in the remote wilderness and is named after German landscape photographer Bernhard Edmaier, who first identified the formations from the air. 

Edmaier’s Secret is characterized by its intricate and vibrant sandstone patterns, sculpted over millions of years by the forces of erosion. The formations consist of layers of colorful sandstone with unique textures, shapes, and vibrant hues ranging from reds to oranges, yellows, and whites.

These striking patterns are the result of different mineral compositions and the deposition of sediment over time.

Know Before You Go

It's worth noting that natural formations like Edmaier's Secret are delicate and vulnerable to human impact. It is important to respect the environment, follow any regulations and guidelines set by the Bureau of Land Management, and practice Leave No Trace principles.

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