Southern Utah: Trails Galore

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Prospector Trail in the Red Cliff Recreation Area

If you are an avid hiker or mountain biker, St. George, Utah and the surrounding area (Hurricane, La Verkin, Washington, Leeds) is paradise. With miles upon miles of BLM land surrounding the second biggest city in Utah, you get the best of both worlds—Adventure and amenities (if you so choose). Additionally, it is in close proximity to Zion National Park which is what I think the idea of Heaven was based on. It is THAT beautiful and if you haven’t been, you really should. See my Zion post by clicking here.

This blog post is going to document some of the trails the area has to offer.

KEY: St. George will be abbreviated with the letters STG from here on out.

White Reef Trailhead

Photo from Trailhead

The White Reef Trailhead is a wide open space that connects to multiple trails within the Red Cliff Recreation Area. This was my first mountain biking experience in the greater STG area. Technically the trail starts near the town of Harrisburg and is home to a few remains of a Mexican village from the late 50’s movie set of, “They Came to Cordura” starring Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth.

Some of the remains

As you move along the trail, it opens up and you get nothing but beautiful views of red rock and Signal Peak in the distance.

The White Reef Trail is quite short at only 1.7 miles, but it’s a super fun ride! The trail eventually merges into other trail options creating opportunities to ride for hours (or days!) so don’t discount it due to its length. There is mild climbing the entire way which made for a quick, fun return after the more strenuous climbs of ADIT (.2 mi) and Tipple (1 mi). which were both quite rocky and technical.

White Reef: Easy, fun, twists and turns (all downhill on the way back!)
The loose rock and significant uphill of the ADIT connector trail
The significantly steep, angled slick rock mixed with lose gravel/rock of the Tipple Trail

I don’t really mind hike-a-biking at times. It’s all a great workout.

Views from the trail

Part of the way up.
The rocks were so interesting and colorful
Pretty colors and a creek below.
Narrow single track offshoot
A hidden find. Not the best lighting but I couldn’t resist the photo op.

While this trail looks close to the interstate on the map, and I could see parts of the road on occasion, I couldn’t hear any sounds of traffic which was nice. Overall, I would rate the loop I did as easy with a few moderate sections. I had plenty of energy to tackle the next trail on the list when I was through with these. Boy I’m glad I did!

Prospector and Quail Creek Trail

Not photo enhanced!

I thoroughly enjoyed these trails. I rode an offshoot trail from White Reef (as shown above) and then hit Prospector Trail until it crosses over a road. Then, instead of continuing I took the Quail Creek Trail. Now, these trails were a lot more sandy with some short, but steep single track hills so I’m going to rate this as an easy hike or moderate bike. Worth every second for the views. I was in love with this section for the colors alone! It was so beautiful.

Here are some photos from this part of my ride.

Can you spot the horseshoe bend trail as it weaves through the colorful brush?

Here’s a panoramic shot of the same scene. I just LOVED this spot! Plus, I was the ONLY one on the trail which made it all the sweeter. Again, these pictures are NOT enhanced. The colors were just that gorgeous!

Sometimes, it’s not the top of the mountain that offers the best views! 🙂

<3

Speaking of views. I was so caught up in the moment, it wasn’t until 2-3 miles in when I started to notice I was surrounded by hundreds of tarantula burrows. OMG! I almost had a mini meltdown, but after scanning the area and remembering that they mostly come out at night, I reigned my thoughts in, cautiously turned my bike around and peddled with a hefty cadence until those mighty holes in the ground were fewer and farther between. Having said that, I’d totally go back!

The other, less funny reason I turned around was that it was getting cold and the winds were picking up! By the time I returned to my camp spot, the gentle 8-10 MPH breeze was now in the high twenties! It was a long climb up that hill in those kinds of headwinds. Yikes! It was the hardest climb of the day and not a very restful night in the van.

Red Reef Trail

This trail is located within the boundaries of the Red Cliff Campground and will cost you $5 if you drive in, $0 to bike in (all the more reason to ride a bike!).

The ride in

With the exception of 1 steep climb and a sandy decent on slick rock, it was a pretty easy trail well worth exploring. It was one of those trails that makes you remember you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

It ended up being a beautiful hike full of color, Rorschach Rocks (yeah, the ink splotch guy) Rocks, super cool trees, and amazing canyons!

Layers upon layers of rock that stood hundreds of feet tall
Canyons
more canyons
Trees with character
An old rotted tree trunk that stood taller than me.
And more canyons

Certain times of the year, a waterfall can be found towards the end of the trail (see photo above). At the end of fall/early winter, you will encounter a dry bed which allows for further exploration of the canyon. Since I was alone, I did the smart thing and didn’t attempt any canyoneering. I’ve seen the movie “127 Hours”!

Eubrontes Track and Silver Reef Trail

A very short, but steep climb takes you to some prehistoric dinosaur tracks which were pretty cool to see. In the photo below, you can see how I compare to the 6-8ft, Megapnosauras (Meg-GAP-no-sore-us).

Once you get back down the hill, turn right and follow the carins up another steep climb along the Silver Reef Tail for some great views.

According to the signage, scientists think this area was formed in the Jurassic period and may have one time been partially covered with a lake.

Chuckwalla Trail

This was a secret haven tucked behind several housing tracks. It’s amazing how nature can be hidden in the most overrun areas. St. George is growing like mad, it’s nice to see that some of the natural world has been preserved.

After several months away, my mom finally made it back home while I was visiting StG. It was nice to share my love of the outdoors with the momma. I think she really enjoyed being out on the trails too.

Yay. A picture of my NOT in selfie form!

When I hike with the momma, I get normal pics of me NOT in selfie form. Thanks Momma. 🙂

The red rock in this area is quite beautiful and not far down the trail, several mountain climbers were honing their skills. The climbers made for a good excuse to take a rest break on the way back up the long hill.

There were also several really interesting rock formations to check out along the way. Plus, in the more wooded areas, we witnessed a falcon hunting a road runner. We accidentally ruined the hunt (for the falcon) and saved the day (for the roadrunner) when stumbling upon their territory during the chase. It was really cool to see even though the falcon did a close flyby over our heads to show his/her disgust.

The flowers in this area were quite beautiful!

Oh, and we found a massive BUTT.

Haha.

Reflections

I’m not going to lie. After about 2 weeks in St. George, I was already getting a bit homesick for Boise and a lot homesick for my handsome hubby. I was asking myself, “Adventure at what cost?”

While St. George is a great place to explore, it just doesn’t really feel like “home”. It’s a melting pot of people which is nice, but it lacks in vibe and charm and is possibly more expensive than even California. The upside is that Southern Utah has relatively mild fall temperatures and is a perfect hangout for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers alike. Don’t be fooled! Winter happens here and when it rains, I found many trails to be unusable. And, it rains a lot in the winter months.

I hope you enjoyed learning about some of the trails in the area. There are so many more to see! Happy exploring.

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