September 9th, 11th & 13th, 2016
Not far from Bryce Canyon NP is Red Canyon located in the Dixie National Forest. We first learned of this valley surrounded by exposed orange-red limestone from Pam and John ( ohtheplacestheygo.wordpress.com ). Most visitors hurry on to Bryce which makes Red Canyon a quiet and peaceful place to hike.
On our first visit (9/9), we stopped at the Visitor Center (located on Scenic Byway 12 about 15 minutes west of Bryce Canyon).
That days hike was a combination of Pink Ledges Trail, Hoodoo Trail, and Birdseye Trail and to complete the 4 mile loop we returned to the VC parking area via the Bicycle Trail.
There are 13 posts along Pink Ledges. Using the pamphlet from the VC you can learn about interesting plants, trees, and rock formations as you meander along.
We both agree the second hike (9/11) was our favorite hike in this mostly secluded canyon. It was the Red Canyon Loop. The VC didn't know anything about this hike so maybe that is why we were the first and only vehicle in the parking lot. When traveling towards the VC, the trailhead is on the right just after the second tunnel. There is a vault toilet, plenty of parking, and a kiosk with maps and info. The hike includes portions of Cassidy Trail, Rich Trail, and Ledge Point Trail. It is a moderate 4 mile loop (lollipop) with steep slopes and rocky surfaces.
The first part of Cassidy follows a wash before heading a up a gradual slope to follow the ridgeline.
It was early in the morning and I enjoyed the chatter of birds in the pine and fir trees.
Rich Trail took us through a forest of Bristlecone Pines and a carpet of manzanita shrubs.
We also passed by The Gap. Joe was happy I left empty handed. Actually this gap is a wash between two resistant buttes.
The last leg of the loop turned out to have the biggest "WOW" factor. Ledge Point is exactly that...a ledge with a 360 degree view of Red Canyon and beyond.
Our last hike (9/13) in Red Canyon was an almost 3 mile moderate lollipop hike that combined Golden Wall Trail and Castle Bridge Loop.
We started out on a wide trail lined with ponderosa pines and spruce trees. The climb was easy and steady.
Soon after we made the left turn onto Castle Bridge Trail,
the trail became very narrow with steep switchbacks...
Of course there were photo ops all around which kept me busy.
It was quite windy on the ridge which added to the excitement...
Until next time, what goes up has to go down...
HAPPY TRAILS !