Saturday, October 27, 2012

Red Cliffs Recreation Area

We didn't know it when we booked a week at St George RV Resort, but the Red Cliffs Recreation Area is right across the road from our RV park. To access the park and the campground within it you must pass through two tunnels under I-15.

You must drive through two 11'9" tunnels under the freeway to get to the park.

Red Cliffs Recreation Area as seen from just beyond the tunnels.

One of my favorite features of the Southern Utah landscape is the Navajo Sandstone layer. It is the largest layer visible to us and is actually petrified sand dunes.

The rolling red and white stone that makes up the majority of the Red Cliffs is Navajo Sandstone.

Funky, fantastical shapes are worn into the Navajo Sandstone by the elements.

We hiked the Red Reef Trail which takes off from the campground, following Quail Creek into the red hills.

There was a dead tree that looked disturbingly like an elephant.

Quail Creek has carved its way through undulating sandstone walls, creating beautiful pools that would be
very tempting on a hot summer day.

The trail continued on above the pool becoming narrower around each corner.

You could easily imagine a flash flood slamming through these chiseled walls of rock.

This was as far as we wanted to go today, having had enough rock scaling yesterday at Zion! The pool here
was a good 10 feet deep. A local told us it is quite the happening place in the summer

We made our way back, admiring the fantastic shapes all around us.

Incredible campsites here, if your rig is small enough to access the park. This is a pull through site.
Water and pit toilets are the only facilities.

Looking down on the campground, wishing our rig would fit through the tunnels.

This was a hidden gem of a park. There are petrified dinosaur tracks (they didn't photograph well), Anasazi ruins, some Mormon pioneer history, and the remains of an old movie set ("They Came to Cordura"), and several more miles of trails to explore.

Boondocking tip! Just North of Red Cliffs Park, from the town of Leeds, cross under the freeway and head West on Silver Reef Rd. It will turn into Oak Grove Rd and head into the Dixie National Forest. There are some amazing dispersed camping sites in this area. You must camp in marked "dispersed camp" sites only and some of them (say the first 5 sites) look acceptable for big rigs. Beyond that the road is only passable by smaller rigs (think truck campers, trucks, vans). This is a well maintained gravel road that goes for many miles into the back country.


  1. Does your rig fit through that tunnel? Looks beautiful!

    1. Nope, we are about 2 feet too tall! We're filing this one in the memory banks...if we ever get a house again we may switch to a smaller rig for shorter trips. And the boondocking places we saw were amazing as well...perfect for a smaller rig!

  2. What a beautiful place. Those trails and that scenery scream Susan and Bob. Bob would love swimming in the pools, Susan only if the pools are 78 degrees or higher.

    Wonderful...must put on bucket list.

    1. :-) I wish I'd asked the local kid we saw how warm it gets. Right now the water is maybe 50 degrees. Can't imagine it making it over 70!

      Lived in San Diego until July of this year...only went in the ocean if it made it to at least 70 I didn't go in the water very often! Hawaii is more my temp!

  3. Thanks for the great trip down memory road. We used to live near there (Toquerville) and LOVED going to Red Cliffs for an evening cookout and hike. The kids scrambled all over the rocks. My husband even swam in the pool in Jan. (He couldn't be out done by my sister who was going to school in St. George.) The temperature was probably only about 40*. In the summer there the days get to 105, so the water is probably 80 or so.

    I didn't have a decent camera at that time, so I didn't have pics. I really enjoyed yours.

    Thank you again - Mari

  4. Also, did you ever make it over to Goblin Valley? Near Hanksville, UT. Even more amazing rock formations. - Mari