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Location: Near the town of Panguitch and Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Trails: There are 14 trails totaling 34 miles on both sides of UT 12, plus lots of "off-trail" possibilities. 7 trails permit only foot travel; mountain bikes and horses are permitted on the rest. ORV (off road vehicles) are allowed on the Casto Canyon Trail and Barney Cove Trails.
Red Canyon Scenic Recreation Area is about 240 miles (4 hours) northeast of Las Vegas and 220 miles (4 hours) south of Salt Lake City.
From Vegas: Take I-15 north and turn onto UT 14 at Cedar City. Go east to US 89 at Long Valley Junction. Travel north on US 89 to UT 12, about 9 miles north of the town of Hatch. Travel about 3 miles east to the mouth of Red Canyon.
From Salt Lake City: I-15 southbound to UT 20 east to Bear Valley Junction. Travel 16 miles south of US 89 to UT 12 to the mouth of Red Canyon.
Activities: Hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, ORV riding
Contact: Red Canyon Visitor Center, UT 12 and Powell Ranger District, P.O. Box 80, Panguitch, UT 84759 Phone: 435-676-8815
Trail maps are free and available at the Red Canyon Visitor Center which is open April - October
Special Use Permits: none
At first, you'll wonder why this beautiful red rocked canyon area found in Dixie National Forest hasn't been absorbed into nearby Bryce Canyon National Park. There are advantages to be a "lesser know" area: You can hike until your heart is content with fear of running into a bunch of tourists with yowling kids in tow. Most of your time spent in Red Canyon will be in solitude.
The 41,431 acre recreation area is home to Red Canyon and two other spectacular canyons: Casto and Losee. More than a dozen trails can be found in the canyons. Red rock walls and Hoo-doos (formations from erosion) are complimented with pink soil and green ponderosa pines. The expansive terrain breaks wide open for bush whacking. Stunted ponderosa pines dot the slopes and shade low-growing green leaf manzanita shrubs. Ridge tops that look like pink sand dunes from a distance are actually windswept collections of eroded stones topped with gnarled bristlecone pines. Make sure to tread lightly in the canyons as they are home to a large concentration of sensitive and rare plant life.