August 2019 – Red Canyon in Utah is a little jewel that lots of folks miss in their excited rush to get to nearby Bryce Canyon National Park. But we’ve loved our visits there, and this time around we decided to hike the Arches Trail.
Arches Trail is a half mile long loop trail, but there are so many offshoots and overlooks and fun nooks and crannies to explore that it can take well over an hour to savor it all.
When we got to the fork where the loop begins and ends, our pup Buddy and I headed one way while Mark headed the other. It wasn’t on purpose. We were all so busy looking around that we didn’t even notice we’d split up!
Buddy and I went to the right, and in no time we were doing a steep scramble. Buddy was already on all fours, but I nearly joined him on my hands and knees!
I looked up from my scramble for a moment and saw a fabulous arch in front of me.
When I got closer to the arch I suddenly had a feeling of déjà vu. Mark and I had been in this exact spot many years ago (blog post here).
It had been late afternoon when we got up here back in August 2011, and the sky had suddenly gone black just as we got to this spot. A monsoon thunderstorm had chased us down off the trail and we had barely made it out before the deluge!
Buddy and I decided to head down and see what Mark was up to, and I wanted to share this memory I’d suddenly had. How funny that neither of us had recognized the trail or the trail name at the start. I guess we’ve seen a lot in all these years of full-time travel!
Mark had gotten a beautiful starburst photo of the sun peeking around the edge of a red rock cliff.
As we continued on the trail all together, we started hunting for arches. We had heard that there are 15 arches on this trail.
We passed a mysterious stone structure that had a very rough roof made of loose logs. Buddy ran over to inspect it. “This is an arch, isn’t it?” He seemed to ask.
Not quite. The arches on this trail were supposed to be hewn by nature’s powerful forces of wind and water and not by human hands.
Mark discovered a ponderosa pine tree trunk that was marvelously twisted.
The hike went up and up, so whether you did the loop clockwise, like we were doing, or counter-clockwise, there’s a bit of climbing involved.
Mark and Buddy found a cave. It didn’t quite count as an arch, but it was cool.
The trail got so steep that a set of stairs had been installed to make it a little easier to climb. How handy!
Finally we got up to the top where the views went on forever in every direction.
We wandered off to see the views and soon found ourselves on opposite sides of the canyon.
I wandered over to one edge where we had a good view of the Losee Canyon wash. Just at that moment a group of horseback riders appeared walking down the wash.
Trail rides are popular in this area, and there are rides of various kinds to all kinds of pretty places.
We continued our hike, wandering down little mini trails off the main path. It was fun to scramble up to higher heights and get pics of the vast landscape. What a place!
Suddenly, we rounded a bend and came across a row of giant chess pieces.
These hoodoos were standing very close together and touching each other here and there, forming interesting arches and windows in between them.
At this point we we’d lost count of the arches we’d seen, but we just loved these funny people-like hoodoos.
The trail wandered around, clinging to the red gravel hillside and luring us on into the ever-changing scenery.
Buddy sprinted ahead while we took baby steps behind him, entranced by our surroundings. He zipped up and down and in and out while we progressed at a snail’s pace. Every so often he’d stop for a while and wait for us to catch up.
Finally we scrambled down from the highest heights and back to the trailhead. What a wonderful morning this had been!
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More info about Arches Trail and Red Canyon:
Other blog posts from Red Canyon:
- Casto Canyon Trail – A Delightful ATV / UTV Ride! 08/23/19
- Red Canyon Utah and the Bryce Canyon Bike Trail! 10/13/16
- Red Canyon Utah is an Overlooked Treasure 09/02/11
More hikes and trails in red rock country:
- Hiking the “Pig Trails” in Sedona, AZ – Breathtaking! (oink oink!) 05/17/19
- Top Sedona AZ Hikes: Little Horse to Chicken Point + Templeton Trail (Cathedral Rock)! 05/03/19
- Brins Mesa Trail & Unexpected Delights in Sedona Arizona! 04/26/19
- Goblin Valley State Park Utah – One Gigantic Playground! 04/20/18
- Grand Staircase Escalante Nat’l Monument – Lower Calf Creek Falls Hike 11/11/16
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Fairyland Trail – A Beautiful Hike! 10/02/16
- The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek (Bell Trail Hike), Sedona, AZ 03/14/16
- Paria Rimrocks “Toadstools” Hike to A Hidden Canyon! 05/25/14
- Wire Pass Trail – Slot Canyon Hiking! 05/22/14
- Sedona Reflections on the West Fork Trail 05/16/14
- Sedona – Mountain biking in the red rocks! 05/13/14
- Red Canyon Utah is an Overlooked Treasure 09/02/11
- Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah – Better Than Bryce? 08/30/11
Other arches we’ve seen in our travels:
- Natural Bridges National Monument
- Arches National Park
- Cathedrals and the Aqueduct in Morelia Mexico
- Colonial Arches and Language Bridges in Chiapas Mexico
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