Photo of the Week - September 7, 2012

Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness Trail
Red Cliffs Recreation Area
Near St. George, Utah

September 7, 2012

Southern Utah is known for all its beautiful parks and monuments. Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches and other famous parks get the bulk of the publicity. For every major park, there are two or three state parks, Bureau of Land Management sites and other public spaces to enjoy.

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is located near St. George, Utah and it is well worth a visit the next time you find yourself in Southwestern Utah. Red Cliffs marks the space where the Mojave Desert, great Basin and the Colorado Plateau meet. It was set aside to protect the habitat of the Desert Tortoise.

Much of the Red Cliffs is remote wilderness. However, several easy access points are also available. The photos on this post were taken on the Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness trail, which is leaves from the Red Cliffs Campground, just off I-15, north of St.George. The trail follows the river bottom as it winds through the narrowing canyon. After two miles or so, the trail narrows and should be attempted by skilled hikers only. There are several other trails in and around the campground which can be enjoyed by all levels of hikers.

Snow Canyon State Park is another excellent spot to enjoy the Red Cliffs. Located northwest of St. George, the state park offers scenic viewpoints and a wide variety of trails.
The Nature Conservancy is one of the partners in the preservation of Red Cliffs. Visit their web page here.