Here at Pipe Spring we don’t have a lot of hiking trails. Compared to Zion and the Grand Canyon, you could say we don’t have any hiking trails at all. But saying that would be untrue. We do have a hiking trail. One. A half mile trail called the Ridge Trail.
The Ridge Trail climbs up the Vermilion Cliff just behind Winsor Castle (the fort) at Pipe Spring. Every now and then a ranger will offer a guided hike up the trail, but I don’t know that many people take them up on it. Ranger Benn decided not to do the hike anymore after he almost stepped on a rattlesnake. He isn’t afraid of them, but he can’t hear them rattle and he was concerned about leading a group into a rattlesnake.
The people who take the hike most often are the National Geographic tours that visit us regularly. Their leader is a geologist who loves to talk about the rocks in this area. We also have dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs on the trail. The petroglyphs are so faint that, even though everyone walks right by them, they don’t notice them. The dinosaur tracks are off the path a few steps but are very clear in the rock. Eubrontes made the tracks about 220 million years ago. I like to think about my shoe prints on the trail compared to these ancient footprints.
Although the Ridge Trail only climbs 130 feet, we get wonderful views of the Arizona Strip from the trail. I like that because I can admire the view without huffing and puffing too much. You can see the old “Honeymoon Trail” heading to St. George. There is an excellent viewpoint of the campground where we stay and the cliffs and canyons to the north of the monument. The Ridge Trail is on monument property, but the Kaibab Paiute Reservation surround the monument, so there is also a fence along the perimeter of the trail.
Tom and I enjoy hiking the Ridge Trail when we need a short trail to stretch our legs. If we walk from the campground, through the monument, and around the Ridge Trail, it is a two-mile lollipop. Just right for working out the kinks.