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"Whether you are interested in geology, photography, botany, recreation, or simply   
sightseeing, Red Canyon is a fascinating area. Even with a limited amount of
time, you can see spectacular colors, fantastic formations, and unique
plants found only in this area. Stay a while and discover the
beauty and wonder that await you in Red Canyon."
~ Introduction on the Red Canyon Trail Map, US Forest Service
Even people just passing through Red Canyon on their way to Bryce Canyon National Park should stop for at least a couple hours to enjoy this spectacular canyon.

That's enough time to look at the exhibits and displays inside and outside the visitor center, pick up a free trail map, take photos of the interesting rock formations visible from the road, and maybe hike one or more of the four short foot-only trails behind and near the visitor center.

The trailhead for the Photo Trail and one end of the Birdseye Trail are marked with an arrow.
The path is across from the first large pull-off when visitors enter Red Canyon from the west.

I'll focus on those four trails in this entry, beginning with the Photo Trail near the western entrance to Red Canyon.

I hiked all of these four short trails on our second full day in the area and parts of three other ones. Within a few days Jim had hiked these four, too. The photos cover various dates in September and October.

The Pink Ledges and Hoodoo trails are behind the visitor center and to its left.

I went back several more times to hike Birdseye, Hoodoo, and Pink Ledges. Even though they are all close to the visitor center I never saw very many people on these trails.

The trails were close to our campground (a couple miles), easy enough on my "rest" days (when I wasn't doing a long hike), and great for walking with the dogs because no bikes are allowed on them -- they are hiking-only trails. Dogs are allowed on ALL the trails in Red Canyon.

There's a good trail map on the Forest Service website. It's too large to print all the trails here so I just copied the section with these four trails:

We highly recommend going to the visitor center first. After checking out the exhibits and displays, ask the rangers any questions you have and request one of the free trail maps. They can guide you to the trails that are appropriate for your ability and the time you have.

Just beware of how the trails at Red Canyon can suck you in if you don't have a strict itinerary.

We planned to stay in the area a week, maybe two. We loved it so much we hung around for 31 days -- and returned for a month in the spring of 2016 and another month in the fall of 2016!


This very short, branched trail has good views west toward the US 89/Sevier River valley, the rock formations at the entrance to the canyon, and east on Hwy. 12:


An easier way up and down this trail is to go left here where it branches.




What this trail lacks in distance -- a quarter mile, tops -- it makes up for in steepness.

I was able to climb up all of it OK to get photos but coming back down part of it was an issue for me because of the loose sand and small rocks. I had to sit coming down from my high point so I didn't slide and fall. I only went back up part of the way when I showed the trail to Jim later.

I kept going up past the arrow -- my bad.


Looking back down; I didn't get a picture at the very top
because I was focused on getting my butt back down the hill.  :-)

If you're younger or more flexible, you may not have any problems with the steep grade or loose rocks. If I ever go up that far again I'll take two trekking poles -- and wear rust-colored pants and thick gloves so it's easier to slide down on my rear end!

None of the three remaining trails in this section near the visitor center had such steep spots. If you're relatively fit, you should be able to handle them even if you have older joints. 


This trail is point-to-point so you can access it from the same trailhead as the Photo Trail or at the end near the visitor center.

Here's one view that shows two ways to reach the Birdseye Trail from the Photo Trail:


The Birdseye and Hoodoo Trails are the easiest of these four trails to hike because once you gain about 100 feet of elevation above the road, you just undulate across the face of the rock slopes in and out of little canyons.

Some of the next photos are looking eastbound toward the visitor center and some are looking westbound.

The high side of the slope will always be either on your right or left, depending on the direction you're walking. The trail doesn't go around the back side of these cliffs.



"Camel" formation from the back (above) and front (below)

The trail gets its name from the "birds eye" view you get of the interesting rock formations and hoodoos along the slope.

The trail is narrow in some places with a steep slope toward the road but the footing is good:

Jim and Casey on one of the narrow trail sections


Zoomed in on the back side of the "castle" across the road






Note the "window" in the rock formation on the right.

There are a lot of spiral tree trunks like this in both Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon.


I have fun hunting for "windows" like this.


This trail is 8/10ths of a mile end to end. You can hike it out and back or in combination with one or more of the other trails near the visitor center.

Continued on the next page:  interesting rock formations on the Hoodoo and Pink Ledges trails

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil