Thursday, September 15, 2016

Red Canyon

Cannnoville/Bryce Valley KOA
Cannonville, UT
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 ( ).  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.
The Hoodoo Trail takes you under the hoodoos and through pinyon pines and juniper trees. And last, the Birdseye Trail offers vistas on a trail with steep slopes along the side of the trail.  It was a pleasant morning and peaked our interest to return.

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. 
And yes, we were surrounded by golden walls.
Soon after we made the left turn onto Castle Bridge Trail, 

 the trail became very narrow with steep switchbacks...

...way fun and a little scary as the trail was very rocky and in some places like marbles.
Of course there were photo ops all around which kept me busy.

It was quite windy on the ridge which added to the excitement...
not the most spectacular views we have seen here, but still worth the climb. 
Until next time, what goes up has to go down...


  1. You found some great hikes without the crowds of the NP. Like most folks we went thru Red Canyon, giving it just a few hours, on the way to Bryce. It certainly deserves more! Thanks for outlining some fun options.

    1. We loved hiking there Jeff. Not quite the excitement of Bryce but we did have the trails all to ourselves. There is a nice campground there we might consider if we return.

  2. Red Canyon is so beautiful in its own way with lots of the same gorgeous rock of Bryce minus the millions of people:) You had some great hikes! Fun times:)

    1. Thanks for posting about Red Canyon Pam....what a great find!

  3. You find the most beautiful hiking spots to explore wish we could do a bit more, it is not to be.

    1. Thanks George and Susie. There are several very easy trails and a tarmac walking - biking trail that is easy to use. The scenery is beautiful!

  4. I think I biked that trail many years ago. Had to push, carry, and drag it in places.
    Box Canyon

    1. Red Canyon Loop is a multi use trail. There was evidence a bike had been there and yes, dried horse poop as well in places. Way impressed you biked that trail Mark...

  5. Gorgeous! You've got me missing red rock country!

    1. It has really been beautiful this time of year Lisa. So glad we was just what we needed!

  6. You definitely find some gorgeous places to photograph. This one was another gem.

  7. Absolutely beautiful. I'm thinking this is a great time to see that area that we had to miss this year! And Joe - you don't have to get so close to that edge!!!! Love that shelf rock photo.

  8. Did you know that we missed that trail with a wow factor? Glad you made it there and took me with you.
    Red Canyon has an understated beauty and a prelude to great views to come.