If you’re looking for a somewhat challenging, and yet incredibly rewarding hike in St George then the Red Mountain Trail is your trail! If you hike the entire thing you’ll hike approximately 10 miles, but it will be 10 miles of views upon views. If you’re familiar with the area you’re essentially hiking along the rim of Snow Canyon State Park, then near the end you’ll be overlooking Ivins, Santa Clara and greater St George. So if it’s views you’re after, then this hike won’t disappoint.
Now before we start I must give you the warning, this is not an easy hike, and it will take you depending on skill level anywhere from 6 – 9 hours. And there is no marked trail after awhile, so if you have a map that says there’s a marked trail it’s wrong, this is backcountry hiking. There have been two search and rescues on this very trail within the last month, so just be prepared and start in the morning anticipating it taking longer than you planned.
Hiking the Red Mountain Trail in Southern Utah
Okay with the warning out of the way let me tell you about this hike and why it’s become one of my favorites in all of southern Utah.
You start out near Dammeron Valley and then you hike south towards Santa Clara. After about an hour you’ll get the first taste of the views you’ll encounter as you look down the Snow Canyon Overlook (well next to the official one), you’ll see a deep chasm and valley before you and it’s really a site to see. But rest assured there is more to see that awaits you as you continue hiking.
Just a little while later you’ll still be on the marked trail, but for me this was the last time I was on it. As soon as I saw I could go down to the white rocked rim area, I was off trail and never looked back.
One of the best parts of this hike is the water ponds that form within the rocks, these little pools of water that are captured add such a unique beauty to the area. I loved wandering along the rim of Snow Canyon looking down from those massive cliffs that I had previously only looked up at from the bottom of the canyon.
You’ll continue heading south and encounter some sand you’ll have to hike in, but it comes and goes, but soon enough you’ll be into the red rocked cliffs and have that killer view down in the main section of Snow Canyon. This is where I stopped to have my lunch, to soak in the views below me, which besides deciding to go on this hike was my best decision of the day.
After this section you’ll keep heading south and that’s where I dropped down to the rim of the canyon on the west side and looked out over the Kayenta valley area, which has green farms and westward views.
Soon after moving forward I quickly spotted the Gunsight exit and climbed up to it. The views from Gunsight are amazing as well, you’ll be looking down in the Santa Clara Valley and have views as far as you can see. It’s the perfect ending view from a spectacular hike.
How To Get There – Red Mountain Trail
There are three main ways to access the Red Mountain trail, but probably the best route is to access the trailhead right before Dammeron Valley, there’s a sign, turn-off and parking lot you’ll be able to access.
Once you’re on the trail there’s one point when there trail splits, there was a sign there pointing the way to Snow Canyon Overlook, take the other path.
After awhile you’ll get off the path and just keep heading south, there are two exits at the end of the mesa, the Gunsight trail, and the Red Mountain Trail from Ivins. I took the Gunsight trail so I can’t speak of the other trail down the mountain. I have to warn you the Gunsight trail is trecherous, if you have bad knees I would suggest taking the other trail down.
For much better trailhead information check out this website.