How to Make the Most of a Weekend at Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

Posted on March 16, 2022

  • Babylon Arch Trail

Gaze out in any direction from this trail and you’ll see the impressive sandstone formations that typify Southern Utah. Swirling layers of red and orange rock form narrow canyons and hollowed-out chambers line the cliff walls. This 3-mile out-and-back route winds through sandstone gulches and up a few short, but sandy, hills on the way to the namesake Babylon Arch, shortly before the trail’s turn-around point at the Virgin River. Hiking through the sand and few trail markers along the way can make the path tough to follow, but the solitude and scenery are worth the effort.

  • Yellow Knolls Trail

Situated eight miles north of downtown St. George, this 4-mile out-and-back trail takes you into a world of slickrock dunes with a fascinating checkerboard pattern. The trek starts with relatively easy hiking in a meadow of sagebrush and desert grasses before the moderate uphill section takes you right through the Yellow Knolls for which the trail is named. For a longer excursion, connect the Yellow Knolls hike with the Winchester and Black Gulch trails for a strenuous, 6-mile loop.

  • Red Cliffs Nature Trail

Also known as the Red Reef Trail, this hike showcases many of the quintessential charms that draw visitors to southern Utah. Glorious red rock canyons complete with waterfalls and pools, a pristine creek lined with vibrant cottonwood trees, and caverns painted with ancient petroglyphs all combine to make this hike a classic. Suitable for all ages, this easy 2-mile trail starts at the Red Cliffs Campground about 15 miles northeast of St. George.

  • Mountain Biking Adventures

Whether on your own or as part of a guided excursion, mountain biking is the perfect way to explore the unparalleled beauty and solitude of Red Cliffs. St. George and several smaller towns in Washington County—like Springdale, Virgin, La Verkin and Hurricane—offer everything you need to set tire to dirt, from bike rentals to gear shops to qualified guides. Here are a couple of the best rides you’ll find in the conservation area.

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