Red Reef Trail is located within the Red Cliff Recreation area in Leeds, Utah. Leeds is about 30 minutes from Zion National Park, and about 15 minutes north of St. George. The entrance to the park is easy to miss, so keep an eye out for the tunnels under the freeway. Once you find it though, it is impossible to forget. There is a campground that has about 10 sites. Only about 7 can accomodate a trailer or an RV. They are first come, first serve. If you can’t get a site here, no worries. It is worth coming here just for the day! The Red Reef trail starts in the campground and goes about 2 miles into the canyon. The trail is cut into the the red clay river bottom that sits at the base of red and orange rock walls. There are many paths that run along this trail that give hikers the opportunity to climb through the rocks. Caves and tunnels provide fun obstacles. As you get deeper in the canyon, a stream begins to crisscross the trail, leading you to pools of clear water. The pooling water takes over the path forcing hikers to climb a ledge using rope. Not to worry though, we watched a kid about 5 years old navigate it with ease. In the warmer months, these pools provide a good cool off, so bring your swimsuit. This stream eventually runs into Quail Creek, another attraction worth your time. Overall this hike is great for families and hikers of all ages. Some unbelievable views and enough obstacles for those wanting to stretch it out.
If you haven’t been yet and looking for more hiking in Zion National Park…Taylor Creek Trail in Kolob Canyon is one of the best kept secrets. Still part of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyon is on the back side of the most popular part of the park, so not a lot of tourists. It’s about a 30 minute drive north from Saint George, exit Kolob Canyon. It’s about a 5 miles round trip hike, crisscrossing a beautiful stream. The trail is surrounded by treelined landscapes and majestic red mountain backdrops that define southern Utah. The end of the trail boasts a spectacular alcove that is best left seen rather than describe. The trail is family friendly…not a lot of up and down, so even my 7-year-old could make the hike. Here’s some pics we grabbed over the weekend.
The Narrows hike through Zion National Park is by far the biggest attraction here. Our family does this hike at least 3 times a year. Hikers from all over the world trek through this crystal blue and green water, that flows through this canyon and into Nevada. Millions of years ago, The Virgin River, carved out these incredible red walls that climb thousands of feet on both sides of you. Now the river is more of a creek and flows slow enough for any age to walk through. The snow pack from northern Utah melts when the weather gets warm and makes for nice cool water during the hot summer months. The river bed is rocky, so I suggest wearing an old pair of sneakers. Some tourists rent hiking boots from the outfitters available in Springdale. We found that sneakers do the job just fine. Bring a lunch and a backpack with plenty of water. It does get about chest deep in some spots. During the rainy season, this hike can close due to flooding. The entire Narrows hike runs about 16 miles! However, most families only do about 2 miles and turn back. Plenty to see in those 2 miles though, so this hike is great for all ages. The best time of day is afternoon, as the rock walls turn crazy colors.
Sand Hollow State Park sits about 15 minutes north of St. George and about 30 minutes south of Zion National Park. This is the local favorite for water sports, off roading and fishing. The lake itself is only about 1300 acres but there’s plenty of room on crowded days for skiing, wake boarding and jet-skis. The first thing you’ll notice is the red sand beaches. The beach extends into the lake providing a sand bar where you can park your boat and have lunch. This beach is also part of the off-road park, so you can watch UTV’s tear it up while you sit in the water. It’s truly a one of a kind landscape. Opposite of the beach is red rock sandstones that hug the shoreline giving fishers and rock jumpers plenty of water holes. Kids take over the “jump spot” all summer long. There is also scuba diving in this part of the lake. This is must do for all visitors.