There are two routes into Edmaier's Secret. The recommended route is to park at the trailhead to Buckskin Gulch (BG) and hike down downstream for 2 miles where a wide sandy wash enters from the left side and BG turns to the right. Head left (east) up the sandy wash and make your way up to the interesting formations of "Brain Rock". The BG trailhead is 4.2 miles down House Rock Valley Road. You will need to pay $6 (cash or check only) at the BG trailhead for day use as of 2018. There are no day use limitations on the number of people allowed in the gulch. One advantage of this route to Edmaier's Secret is that when it is time to exit getting back to your car is very straightforward. Make your way to BG and turn right for the easy two mile hike back to your car. Buckskin Gulch does not "slot up" during its first two miles so there is no danger on the hike from flash flood. You are usually hiking on "user" trails above Buckskin Gulch. The gulch is almost always dry but there are several crossings so if water is running you will get wet. The disadvantage of the Buckskin Gulch route is the $6 fee.
The second route which I no longer recommend due to BLM road closures is via Long Valley Road (also called Long Canyon Road). Long Valley Road also goes to Cobra Arch. Long Valley Road is the road heading south from Highway 89 at the signed "Paria Outpost". Paria Outpost is 0.6 miles West of the Paria Contact Ranger Station, and just west of where the Paria River runs under Highway 89. Long Valley Road is impassable and very dangerous when wet. Take Long Valley Rd 4.5 miles and fork right onto a small sandy jeep trail. This road is a signed BLM "administrative road". It is not "legal" to drive it, and you may be ticketed if you do so. It is permissible to hike or ride a horse into the area. Mountain bikes are not permitted. The administrative road may not have been maintained recently, and it may not be maintained in the future. Follow this road 0.6 miles to a small water hole, and mark your location on your GPS. Leave the road and hike off-trail .75 miles southwest to the escarpment and make your way down to the brain rocks. You should have and know how to use a GPS if you use the second route. Use it to mark the location where you leave the administrative road, and the point at which you descend the escarpment.
Edmaier's Secret is best photographed late in the day as the sun doesn't hit parts of it until several hours after sunrise. The best parts of Edmaier's Secret are the "Big Dome" and the areas just to the south and west of it. This area has many "teepees", water pockets, and crossbedded sandstone. Edmaier's Secret, together with the White Pocket, are best following rain as the water pockets will be full. You will need to wait until House Rock Road becomes passable before heading to the trailhead however.
West Clark Bench is the area above the cliffs you see to the east northeast when hiking to The Wave. Edmaier's Secret lies below the cliffs, as does Buckskin Gulch. West Clark Bench is largely devoid of vegetation and is heavily crossbedded, and like the White Pocket it is full of cauliflower / brain rock and water pockets. It also has a great deal of fin / lace rock and because the area is remote and sees little visitation the fins are well preserved. Like The White Pocket West Clark Bench is best visited when water is present, but it is also good even when dry. The best features are a small but dramatic arch and an S Curve nearby. Both are best photographed at sunset.
West Clark Bench is difficult to get to. The easier but less interesting route is to approach it via Long Valley Road. Take Long Valley Road 5.2 miles to the administrative road on the left at 37.05918, -111.95684. This road is closed to the public and you risk getting a ticket if you drive on it. Walk or ride 1.5 miles and bear right. Continue 0.2 miles to the signed wilderness boundary near Rubin Tank. Hike past the wilderness boundary and follow the very rough road 1.25 miles to its end where you can begin your exploration. Note that following this approach costs you about three miles (one way) of hiking on closed sandy boring roads. You may be able to save .5 miles by taking a more direct off trail route from Long Valley Road but you are still in for a long day even before beginning your exploration.
The recommended route is to approach West Clark from Buckskin Gulch and Edmaier's Secret. Park at The Buckskin Gulch TH and follow the directions to Edmaier's Secret given above. After visiting the Big Dome continue south about one mile to the ramp at 37.0306, -111.99763. Ascend the ramp and you will have arrived at West Clark Bench. While this route is longer (about four miles one way rather than three) you get to see Edmaier's Secret along the way. It also has the advantage in that you may be able to use it after a rain when Long Valley Road is very dangerous to drive.
Finally, the sandstone fins and lace rock found at both Edmaier's Secret and West Clark Bench are very fragile. The fins are typically only 1/8 inch thick and can be several feet long. They are very easily broken, please do not walk on or touch them. If you have a dog with you I suggest you keep it on leash when near fins. Some damage in the area had already been reported to me. If damage continues the BLM will probably institute a permit system like that used to protect Coyote Buttes.
Only a few references to this formation can be found on the web. Phillipe Schuler has some good photos but did not give the location as in May 2009 the rangers at the Paria Ranger station asked him not to disclose it. I was given the location in 2010 at the Paria Ranger station and was told it was okay to post the location. I did so but shortly afterwards received an email from the BLM asking that I remove the location from my site as the rock is very fragile. I removed the location from my website for about a year but have now decided to repost directions since the location is now readily available from other sources on the web. Update - As of 2018 the trailhead now appears on Google maps. There are no secrets on the web!
To get to the Nautilus take the White House Trailhead Road (this is the road that turns off from the Paria Ranger Station ) about 1.6 miles to a small wash, right after crossing the wash there is a small place to park on the right. Head up the Wash (East) about .4 miles. The Nautilus is on the right side of the wash. This is a very short hike. There is a barbed wire fence at the start of the hike. It can be easily bypassed by climbing over the wood part at the right side of the fence. The barbed wire fence was installed in 2011 by a local rancher. The Nautilus is on public land. The rock at the Nautilus is made of Page sandstone and is very fragile so please tread lightly.
Photo Tips - The first time I was there on a clear day around 1PM, not the best time to shoot the Nautilus as there are very deep shadows. The second time was on an overcast day with no direct light. The cloudy day worked better. I was at the Nautilus in the evening recently and found that there was some very good reflected light a bit before sunset. Shoot from the bottom just after it goes into shadow, the upper interior has a very nice red glow then. Alternatively try photographing the Nautilus in the blue (30 minutes after sunset) when it will be lit only by reflected light. You will need a fisheye or ultra-wide to best photograph the Nautilus. Night time photography with star trails / light painting should also work very well here. Finally - the background is very busy so I would try to eliminate as much of it as possible.
Note - In 2014 there was a partial collapse of the Nautilus and it is not as photogenic as before.
To view the map larger please click on the box in the upper right corner of the map.
The following map shows the locations of all of the geocoded photos in the Edmaier's Secret and West Clark Bench galleries. Click on any image to display a cropped thumbnail, the date and time the image was taken, the GPS coordinates, the elevation, and the focal length used when shooting the image. Click on the cropped thumbnail in the upper left corner to display a larger uncropped image.
To view the map larger please click on the box in the upper right corner of the map.
The map can be downloaded by clicking here.
The area around Edmaier's Secret is covered by the West Clark Bench USGS 24K topographic map
Cross Bedding on West Clark Bench
Better with Water
Well Preserved Fins
West Clark Bench Arch
The Nautilus before the partial collapse
West Clark Bench S Curve