Red Canyon

Red Rock Rangers

hiker-trash extraordinaire!
Sep 6, 2015
Ever notice how some place names pop up over and over again? If I had a dollar for every time I've visited a 'Red Canyon' or a 'Cottonwood Canyon' or a 'Bear Mountain' I'd be a rich woman.

It's kind of a shame the pioneers picked such a generic name for this Red Canyon, because it's a seriously cool place. Red Canyon is located on Forest Service Land just outside Bryce Canyon National Park, so it's full of technicolor hoodoos. The landscape at Red Canyon isn't quite as magnificently freakish as Bryce, but honestly ... what is? And if you're a mountain biker with a dog, there's not a lot you can do in Bryce besides shuffle among the swarming crowds of tourists. At Red Canyon, we could bring Frankie, ride our bikes, and enjoy a quieter rock-pillar wonderland.


Ledge Point Trail Overlook
We drove up towards Red Canyon and felt the temperature drop from 105°F to 80°F as we approached 8,000ft elevation. (I am so over this St. George summer. Good lord.) There's a developed campground nearby, but we opted for primitive camping on Forest Service land along Corral Hollow Road. I was shocked at how peaceful it was. Highway 12 was buzzing with vehicles heading to and from Bryce Canyon NP, but they all had tunnel vision -- most of them skipped the Red Canyon area. We only passed 5-6 other groups on the trail the whole time we were there. It was strange and fantastic.


After setting up camp, we spent a quick hour hiking on the trails near the Red Canyon Visitor Center. Seriously cool! The Pink Ledges Trail, Hoodoo Trail, Birds Eye Trail, and Photo Trail bust out right from the parking area, and you're instantly surrounded by towering sherbet-colored hoodoos. It was quick, easy, and stunning.



The next morning, we unloaded the bikes and hit the trail. We rode out on a 14-mile loop along the Cassidy Trail and the Losee Canyon Trail (go this direction -- it makes the climb less brutal.) It was, hands down, the prettiest mountain biking trail I've ever been on. The riding wasn't too technically difficult, but I did end up walking my bike over a few sections. (And remember, I'm not a very good mountain biker -- more enthusiasm than skill!) Whatever you do, don't skip the Brayton Point Overlook.

After about 7 miles of singletrack, we reached the road at the Losee Canyon Trailhead. Jordan stayed with our dog, while I road 7 more miles on pavement to get back to the car at the Cassidy Trailhead. There's a super-nice bike path along Highway 12, which keeps you away from the traffic.


All in all, Red Canyon gets two big thumbs up! It's gorgeous, 25° cooler than St. George, the hiking and riding were a blast, and it's strangely quiet considering it's so close to a popular National Park. We'll be back!




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