August 2019 – When we were casting about on the internet to find beautiful places to ride our Polaris RZR side-by-side, we came across a claim that Casto Canyon in Utah is one of the top 10 ATV trails in the country. Wow!! We had to go!
Casto Canyon (there is no “r” in the word “Casto” ) is located on the back side of spectacular Red Canyon, a unique collection of red and pink hoodoo pinnacles that acts as a warmup show for visitors heading to Bryce Canyon National Park.
We eagerly hopped into our RZR and hit the two track trail.
The Casto Canyon ATV trail follows a wash that winds through the canyon and criss-crosses it repeatedly. In no time we had a view that totally warranted that “Top 10” designation we’d read about.
Our little Buddy ran along ahead of us in his usual role as Trail Scout and sprinted down the two track trail as it ducked back into the woods.
The Casto Canyon trail parallels the wash and hops back and forth across it repeatedly. We had the whole canyon to ourselves, and the rising sun felt warm on our skin each time we emerged into the wash from the deep shade in the woods..
Casto Canyon Trail is only 5.5 miles long, but we took our time, riding a few hundred yards and then stopping to take pics and explore on foot. At first, the shadows were long and deep, but gradually the sun rose higher and the shadows crept back towards the base of each tree and red rock hoodoo.
Casto Canyon Trail is a multi-use trail that is open to horses, hikers, bikers and motorized vehicles. It would be possible to ride it on a bike, but we knew we’d be jumping on and off our bikes a lot to walk through the more difficult patches.
As we explored the fringes of the trail, our gaze was drawn both down to our feet where delicate flowers were in bloom and up high above us where the red rock spires reached towards the sky.
At last we came to an intersection with Barney Cove Trail. This spot marks the end of the dramatic red rocks lining the sides of the wash and the trail. Buddy decided it was time for a rest!
Suddenly we heard the sounds of a motor in the distance, and then an ATV appeared on the trail ahead of us. The driver stopped and took a break while he waited for his companions behind him.
It turned out that he and his friends were on a 12 day long 300 mile ATV adventure. They had already covered 100 miles in the first four days and they had another 200 miles to go.
They were carrying all their gear on their four wheelers, from tents, clothes and food to drinking water and gas for the ATVs. They were staying on or near the trail in the wilds the whole time, and they were having a blast.
As we watched him and his buddies ride off down the trail behind us, we agreed that they were probably about to see the most beautiful scenery of their whole trip.
Nearby, we found a trickle of a stream flowing. The wash is enormously wide with steep eroded dirt walls that have been carved by blasts of rushing water in some places. But at the moment, in mid-August, there was just a dribble of water here and there, likely from the recent afternoon monsoon storms.
We continued a little further on Casto Canyon Trail. Casto Canyon is a narrow trail and we were glad we had a skinny trail model RZR when we squeezed through one tight spot.
The trail got rougher as we went along, and the most stunning red rock scenery fell behind us. So, we turned around and headed back. The sun was much higher now, and with the different lighting and in direction the views were all new.
The size of the red rock canyon walls is hard to comprehend, but the size of the trees gives a hint.
Even as tall and rugged as the red rock hoodoos were, we kept finding dainty little things down at our feet. We were immersed in Nature’s wondrous beauty.
The trail twisted and turned around berms on the edge of the canyon on our way back.
The red rock hoodoos stood cheek-by-jowel on the edges of the wash, each one covered with horizontal stripes. When we turned one corner, we noticed a red rock hoodoo that had slipped on its foundation and was lying at an angle. Cool!
Even if you don’t own an ATV or small UTV, Casto Canyon is a true delight to explore. The views begin within the first few hundred yards, so even a short out-and-back hike is rewarding. If you are comfortable riding (or walking) a bike across multiple washes filled with loose sand and gravel, Casto Canyon would also be lovely to experience from the seat of a bike.
Never miss a post — it’s free!
More info about this area:
Other blog posts from Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park:
- Red Canyon – Arches Trail – Windows & Hoodoos in Utah!
- Red Canyon Utah and the Bryce Canyon Bike Trail!
- Red Canyon Utah is an Overlooked Treasure
- Bryce Canyon in Winter – Snow and Lace on the Red Rock Spires!
- Spring in Sarasota FL + Bryce Canyon’s Night Skies – in Trailer Life
- Bryce Canyon – Rainbow Point – Bristlecone Pines and Sweeping Vistas
- Bryce Canyon National Park – “Mossy Cave” – Mystery Waterfall!
- Red Canyon Utah and the Bryce Canyon Bike Trail!
- Bryce Canyon Gone Wild – Tempests, Rainbows & Wildlife
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Fairyland Trail – A Beautiful Hike!
- Bryce Canyon – Hiking The Rim & Navajo Loop + A Tourist Time-lapse!
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Inspiration Point – OMG!
- Bryce Canyon, UT – Fairyland of Pink Turrets
Our most recent posts:
- 50 RV Gift Ideas for Your Beloved RVer (or RV!) 11/24/23
- Shelter Island – The Heart of San Diego…on the Waterfront! 11/17/23
- Hartman Rocks – A Different View of Colorado near Gunnison 10/13/23
- Lost & Found – An Unexpected Guest Visits Us in our RV! 10/06/23
- News & Tidbits from the Roads Less Traveled 09/29/23