Sunday, January 17, 2016

Red Cliffs Recreation Area - Leeds Utah


After running the St. George Half Marathon I decided I wanted to do some hiking.  Southern Utah is just loaded with some great places to hike and I had done a little research before arriving there.  On my list was to visit the Red Cliffs Recreation Area.

Located about 14 miles north of St George, it is fairly easy to find.  Just drive north to exit 22.  Make a right off the highway and take the frontage road about 2 miles until you see signs for the park.  It is then about a 1.5 mile drive to the park entrance.

There is a self-service fee station that you pay $5 for a day use receipt.  There is limited parking there so I had some concerns as to whether I would actually be able to find parking.  I am happy to report that there was ample parking and it almost seems like the locals don't know much about this place (or have already been there).

Red Reef Trail

The first trail I took was the Red Reef Trail.  This trail is the most widely used and I saw a ton of people on it.  

The route is fairly easy to follow and eventually leads to some pools of water.  The Quail River flows by and occasionally forms into mini waterfalls and pools.  

The trail is fairly sandy and in spots does require some scrambling over rocks.  I believe a lot of the areas had work arounds but eventually it does require some technical skill and bravery to get around.

The most adventurous point on the trail is when you have to use a rope and some very rough foot and hand holds to navigate across a pool of water.  One false step and you are plunging into the pool of cold water. 

For whatever reason, it was easy to do on the way out, but on the way back I really struggled.  I am happy to report, though, that I made it without losing my phones.

A petrified / ruined tree

Heading into the canyon

The tricky part of the trail

The tricky part of the trail

The tricky part of the trail

The tricky part of the trail

The Silver Reef Trail with Dinosaur Tracks

After exploring the Red Reefs Trail, I wandered around the parking area until I found the trail for the Silver Reef.  This very short trail offers some great views of the eastern valley as well as a chance to see some dinosaur tracks.  

The trail isn't technical at all and does give you the chance to climb on rocks and such.  I was sort of surprised to see the dinosaur tracks just "out there". You could deface them, walk on them, whatever you want.  I would've expected to see some sort of protection around them.  In fact, one of the tracks was right in the middle of the trail.

I got some really nice pictures here:

Dinosaur Track

Dinosaur Track

Another dinosaur track

Dinosaur Track

Anasazi Trail

The last trail I did there was the Anasazi Trail.  This trail goes in all kinds of different directions and there are other trails that criss and cross it.  I started on one trail, stumbled on this one and followed it.

It is a fairly easy, but sandy hike, to a top of a hill where you can see the remnants of an Indian structure.  I almost missed it because I just assumed the trail just went no where.  I also was sort of fearful of getting lost out there -- there were lots of unnamed trails from water wash but the nice thing is, is that you can constantly see the red rock to the west, so even if you did get lost, you could find your way back to the parking lot if you were willing to bushwhack it.  

Here are some pictures of this trail:


This trip was definitely worth the price and effort.  I spent a good 3 hours there.  There are lots of kids here though so expect families and such.

Parking was a snap but park information was pretty sparse and I was never quite sure if I had seen everything (or not).  There were no rangers there so be sure to do your research before you go.

It is also a great place for a picnic, with restrooms and picnic tables.  Just a stunning afternoon trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment