Utah's Often Missed Beauty The Red Canyon
Wedged just between Zion and Bryce Canyon is a location which becomes dwarfed by the hype surrounding the two much larger parks, Red Canyon. While many pass through the winding roads and toward one of the larger parks, they find the landscape to be unique but usually assume must be a part of the larger area.
But a quick trip to the Red Canyon Visitor’s Center and all the details will unfold in your hands as you realize that the area known for its unique hoodoos is vastly different and does in fact stand on its own due to its unique features and activities areas.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day you can uncover the wonders of Red Canyon with a quick stop in to this center and receive maps, speak to rangers and enjoy hands on exhibits in their small interactive museum. Just outside of the center an interpretive trails introduces you to the unique features which make this area so special as you navigate over a .9 mile loop with 13 unique stops.
The hike itself is relatively easy with little elevation change and only one semi problematic area which they do suggest hiking boots or shoes to navigate due to the shifting gravel like rocks which can resemble marbles on ice. This area can be avoided however by backtracking down the trail without missing any key stops.
I decided after a brief visit to the Visitor Center that I wanted to take on this trail and enjoy a stretch moment from all of my driving and I was very impressed. There are several intersection points from which you can veer off the original course to increase your intensity or your excitement and after learning about the features of the area through the trail map itself I was able to discover a few hidden gems that were not highlighted specifically.
But this hike is but one of a many in the area. These hikes range from easy to strenuous and vary in lengths, all boasting spectacular views. In addition, there are bike trails running throughout this area with very impressive views and even paved paths.
If you are up for a beautiful challenge you will want to make it a point to stop at this location and explore off the beaten path a bit. You could spend several days in this one area alone without even entering either of the National Parks.
Something I genuinely enjoyed about my visit to this location was the opportunity to have a great photo with none other than Smoky Bear. A larger than life photo opportunity is visible from the roadway and welcomes visitors to stop in and not only take a photo but also to learn a bit more about the Dixie National Forest, which runs through this area.