Hoping for a break from the heat, Tom and I recently traveled north and up in elevation to Red Canyon in the Dixie National Forest. Red Canyon encompasses Utah Highway 12 which leads to Bryce Canyon National Park. As such, the road is very busy, but few people stop to hike the trails because Bryce is so close.
Tom and I have been to Bryce Canyon National Park many times, so we made Red Canyon our destination for the day. We stopped first at the Visitor Center to pick up trail maps and suggestions on what to visit. Then we headed out to the trails.
There are miles of trails in and around the Red Canyon area of Dixie National Forest. Also, entrance to the Dixie National Forest is free, as opposed to the $35 entrance fee to Bryce. Many of the rock formations are the same as you will see in Bryce and they are just as colorful. So it is a good place to spend some time to get away from folks.
Tom and I hiked several trails and ended up exploring a few places we thought were trails but weren’t. The trails around the Visitors Center connect and intertwine so you can hike several miles from one end to the other. We started on the Pink Ledges Interpretive Trail, linked to the Hoodoo Trail and ended up on a ledge. From there we cut over to the Birdseye Trail and finished with the Photo Trail. Until we reached the road, we only saw a handful of other hikers.
The Red Canyon Bicycle Trail runs the length of the canyon, about 15 miles. It links up with the Bryce Canyon trail at the top of the canyon, creating a longer trail. Tom and I plan to take the tandem back, but it is 15 miles of up, so it will need to be in cooler weather.
The hike was wonderful. Even though we were close to the road, the rock formations blocked off the sound and sight of all the tourists going to Bryce. We felt like we were exploring a vast and beautiful rock wilderness.