On the way in to Bryce Canyon National Park, visitors pass through stunning Red Canyon. The red rocks in this magical canyon are such a vivid color and such a huge surprise that visitors are instantly in a quandary — should they stick around and check out this gorgeous canyon they’ve never heard of before, or continue on the remaining 12 miles to Bryce Canyon, full speed ahead??
Red Canyon is a beautiful area the has several wonderful hiking trails and lots of incredible scenery.
We hiked the easy Pink Ledges trail that took us right into the heart of the red rock hoodoos in just a few uphill steps.
We’ve hiked the beautiful trails in Red Canyon before, and it was wonderful to be immersed once again in this lovely red rock canyon that so many tourists blow right by.
The various hiking loops in Red Canyon can be mixed and matched to make a hike of any length, and the Pink Ledges Trail soon merged into the Bird’s Eye trail.
This took us out along the edges of the red rocks and rose higher and higher.
We wandered back to the central part of the canyon and admired the twin hoodoos that stand like sentries high up on a ledge.
Below them, we ran into a young couple sitting on a park bench enjoying the shade of a ponderosa pine and the views all around them. We found out they had just gotten engaged moments before, and they proudly showed us her beautiful brand new ring!
Red Canyon holds a special place in our hearts, because it was where we discovered the wonders of the RV lifestyle.
We were on a whiz-bang weeklong tour of Grand Canyon’s South and North Rim, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park with our tent and bicycles, back in our workaday lives long ago, and we wound up camping at Red Canyon on the suggestion of a forest ranger we spoke with when we stopped in at the ranger’s office on the way to Bryce Canyon.
After a beautiful day at Bryce Canyon, we returned to the Red Canyon Campground to a massive deluge and thunderstorm that was followed by two days of rain.
After scurrying from coffee shop to lunch bistro to dinner restaurant around Panguitch and Brian Head, desperately trying to stay warm and dry, we returned to the campground to find all the other campers happily kicking back in their RVs. They were reading books and playing board games with the lights on in their rigs, while we crawled back into our dark soggy tent.
Within a few days, we were the proud owners of a Toyota Tundra truck and a popup tent trailer!
Of course, tent camping is absolutely wonderful too, and we look back on our tenting days with fondness. But there’s nothing like being warm and dry and having a comfortable place to sit that is sheltered and high up off the ground when Mother Nature decides to let loose with a storm!
Red Canyon Campground is an absolute delight. You can camp within view of the red rock hoodoos, and there are a few campsites that are big enough for a big trailer like our fifth wheel.
Another treat at Red Canyon is the paved bike path. Being at 8,500′ elevation, we had to work a bit with each pedal stroke, but the scenery was second to none.
The Red Canyon Bike Trail goes all the way from Red Canyon to Bryce Canyon City, the little hamlet that used to appear on maps as “Rubys Inn” because it is home to Ruby’s Inn, a family run operation that includes an inn, restaurant and an RV park.
Every time we’ve been to this area in the past, we’ve wished that the bike trail went all the way into Bryce Canyon.
Lo and behold, the National Park Service granted our wish this season and extended the paved bike trail all the way into Bryce Canyon as of a few weeks before our arrival!! It is now 17 miles long and you can ride from the west end of Red Canyon all the way to Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon.
This project was undertaken and completed for the 100th anniversary of America’s National Parks this past August, and it takes a wonderfully winding route through the ponderosa pine forest right to the Bryce Canyon Visitors Center.
From the Visitors Center, the Bryce Canyon bike trail passes all the main overlooks and wanders away from the rim for a bit too as it swings by the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
We had to get off our bikes and walk when we visited the overlooks in Bryce Canyon, but what a fabulous addition this bike trail is to one of the National Park Service’s premier parks. We were absolutely thrilled by the new bike path, and we rode it many times during our stay.
Hopefully the National Park Service will continue building bike paths at other National Parks. The bike trail at Grand Teton National Park is superb as well, and keeps getting longer each time we visit.
The best way to experience a National Park is to be outdoors in the thick of it, and how fantastic it is to be able to fly along and enjoy the views from the seat of a bike!
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More info about Red Canyon and the Bike Trail:
- Red Canyon – US Forest Service Website
- Location of Red Canyon, its campground and the route to Bryce Canyon’s Inspiration Point
Our previous RV trip to Red Canyon:
Red Canyon Utah – An Overlooked Treasure – 09/15/11
More blog posts from our RV trips to Bryce Canyon
- Bryce Canyon in Winter – Snow and Lace on the Red Rock Spires! 01/25/19
- Spring in Sarasota FL + Bryce Canyon’s Night Skies – in Trailer Life 04/04/17
- Bryce Canyon – Rainbow Point – Bristlecone Pines and Sweeping Vistas 11/01/16
- Bryce Canyon National Park – “Mossy Cave” – Mystery Waterfall! 10/18/16
- Bryce Canyon Gone Wild – Tempests, Rainbows & Wildlife 10/09/16
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Fairyland Trail – A Beautiful Hike! 10/02/16
- Bryce Canyon – Hiking The Rim & Navajo Loop + A Tourist Time-lapse! 09/29/16
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Inspiration Point – OMG! 09/27/16
- Bryce Canyon, UT – Fairyland of Pink Turrets 08/25/08
Related posts from our RV travels:
- Our RV travels in Southwestern Utah – Bryce, Zion and Capitol Reef area
- Our RV travels in Southeastern Utah – Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands area
- Our RV travels to Sedona Arizona – Red Rock Country in AZ
- Our travels to North America’s National Parks – National Parks and World Heritage Sites in the US, Canada and Mexico
Our most recent posts:
- Willow Lake (& more) around the Granite Dells in Prescott AZ 06/07/23
- Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ – SPECTACULAR! 05/25/23
- Lynx Lake, Arizona – Great RV Camping Near Prescott! 05/17/23
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This is our favorite campground. We camped here twice this year, once for five days in July and then again a week ago for three days on our way home from Yellowstone. We use Red Canyon as a destination spot and home base for exploring all of the great National Parks off of highway 12 and 89. Capitol Reef, Escalante and Bryce Canyon are all easy day trips from Red Canyon. As are, Zion and Cedar Breaks National Park.
We got some great shots of the Aspens with their golden leaves off some back roads in Brian Head near Cedar Breaks this trip. You’re right when you say this campground is overlooked. It’s used as a one night stopover on the way to somewhere else by the majority of campers. That’s probably due to the fact that it’s a first-come, first-served campground. The place practically empties out by eleven in the morning and is full again by five in the afternoon.
All in all, you just can’t beat this place. Beautifully set among red hoodoos and green pines, centrally located to five great National Parks, doesn’t take reservations and give a 50% old cute discount . . . Nine bucks a night with showers, a dump station and a fantastic camp host named Jane who’s there every season. We love this place!
It is a hidden jewel for sure, Lew. I’m so glad you loved it as much as we have. It is an “old school” campground for sure, with friendly first-come, first-serve policies and reasonable rates. What a rare treasure!!!
We have recently begun following your wonderful blog since we are taking off in four years to full-time RV and share many of your outdoor interests. Thank you so much for this post, alerting us to Red Canyon and the fabulous bike trail. We cannot wait to experience it ourselves!
I’m so glad our posts are giving you ideas and inspiration, Joodie. The four years will fly by and you’ll be enjoying your own thrilling adventures before you know it!
I love going back to special places, especially those serendipitous cross roads where you can see how the place may have actually changed the course in your life. And how fitting that you were given the gift of meeting the couple who just got engaged. The red canyons are still doing their magic. We’ll be out that way next year. Thanks for putting it on our map.
The red rocks are definitely full of magic. Enjoy your travels out here next year!!!
We enjoyed your article and beautyful pictures of Red and Bryce Canyon. We have our family get together every 4th of July for several weeks in this area for Mountain biking and hiking. The red rocks are allways a special place for us.
Thanks for the article.
What a great place for a family gathering. I’m glad this brought back good memories for you!