2015  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Denali

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   RED CANYON'S GOLDEN WALL, CASTLE 
BRIDGE, & TUNNEL TRAILS, p. 2

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

 
 

Continued from the previous page.

BACK ON THE GOLDEN WALL TRAIL

Down at the intersection with the Golden Wall Trail we turned right and headed back to the trailhead, hiking a little above the wash and then down in it for a couple hundred feet:

 

 

 

 


For a little while the trail goes right through the wash.


Looking back from the wash

It was half a mile to the other end of the Castle Bridge Trail and another 6/10ths mile repeating the "stick" part of the lollypop.

As with just about every trail in Red Canyon, you can do variations to add distance and difficulty to this loop. The remainder of the Golden Wall Trail is much hillier, as is the Buckhorn Trail.

If you want a longer hike with more elevation gain and loss, start at either end of the Golden Wall Trail and include the Castle Bridge Trail near the beginning or end. If you do the two extensions out and back as shown on the map below, walk through part of the campground, and return to your starting point via the bike trail, the distance is an even five miles.

Here's the trail map again, with the longest distance in yellow. You can shorten it by 3/4 mile if someone drops you off or picks you up or you spot a vehicle at either end:

Note that the Golden Wall Trail doesn't have its own trailhead on the eastern end. Like Castle Bridge, it isn't "self-contained." It morphs into the Buckhorn Trail at its other end. Buckhorn is just under a mile long and begins/ends part way back into the Red Canyon NFS campground.

I hiked only a mile of the Golden Wall Trail as of October, 2015. In May of 2016 I hiked the rest of it, and Buckhorn. That's how I know the distance for the longer hike. I'll show those photos in the 2016 journal (eventually).

TUNNEL TRAIL

This is a short, fun trail that puts you at the top of a cliff with good views down to the two vehicle tunnels on Scenic Byway 12.

From the higher vantage points you can see traffic going through both tunnels:

Here are some pictures of the tunnels from road level.

They were reportedly blasted out of the rock fins back in the 1920s to impress dignitaries and other visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park, which is about 15 miles up Scenic Byway 12:


Tunnel #1 going eastbound toward Bryce Canyon


Tunnel #2 going east toward Bryce Canyon


Other side of Tunnel #1

The Tunnel Trail starts at a pull-off about a quarter mile west of the first tunnel, across the road from the trailhead parking area for the Cassidy Trail.

Like the Golden Wall Trail, you cross the bike path and the large, dry wash, then go up the trail on the bank on the other side:

 

 

As you can see from my GPS track (I hiked this trail only once on this trip) the trail switchbacks a bunch of times up the slope. It's only about half a mile to the top:

The grade is one of the smoothest in Red Canyon and partly shaded all the way up to the top of the hill. Because of all the switchbacks the grade is very gradual.

Along the way are several benches with views of the rock formations across the road and peeks down to the two tunnels:

 


One of five benches along the trail

I had fun watching big RVs, tour buses, and trucks going through the tunnels. You can see down to them when you're about halfway up the hill but the higher you go, the better you can see both tunnels.

Some folks stop at the pull-offs just before each bridge to take photos -- or make the determination that yes, our rig will fit under it!


View of tunnels on one of the switchbacks part way up the hill


Arrow marks the bike path (I used this photo in a previous entry)


Lots of RVs!  Both tunnels are visible from the top half of the trail.

When you're driving or hauling a large RV it's a good idea (understatement!) to know the height of your vehicle and the height of bridges/tunnels you're approaching.

These tunnels are tall enough for any but an over-sized vehicle to pass under. It's a good idea for RVs to go through the middle of the tunnel, though, if no one is coming the other way. The sides aren't as tall as the middle.

Once at the top of the cliff you can watch the traffic going through both tunnels -- more fun than you might think! -- and continue walking around the rather flat, wide ledge  to view the scenery in all directions:

 

 

You can also continue east to another higher hill but I didn't do it on this hike:

 

Up and back is a mile with a total of only 520 feet elevation gain and loss. Elevations range from about 7,319 feet in the wash to 7,568 feet at the bench on top of the hill.

Next entryanother short, fun, but more challenging hiking-only trail -- Arches. See who can count the most "windows!"

Happy trails,

Sue
"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

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