The BLM manages nearly 23 millions acres of public lands in Utah, representing about 42 percent of the state. These lands are located mostly in western and southeastern Utah. The terrain is varied, ranging from rolling uplands in the Uintah Basin to sprawling lowlands in the Mojave Desert. Utah's public lands feature some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, from the snow-capped peaks of remote mountain ranges to the colorful red-rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau.
One of the best ways to experience the desert terrain of Southwestern Utah is on one of the many trails managed by the Cedar City and St. George Field Offices. Many of the trails are open to multiple users, including hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians, but some are restricted to hikers only.
Trails range from signed and maintained singletrack in the urban interface, to primitive backcountry routes in Wilderness Study Areas. Our desert environment can be pleasant in the popular spring and fall months, tolerable in the winter, and brutally hot in the summer. Hikers should carry water, food, clothing, and tools and be prepared for changing weather, riding conditions, and accidents. Many trails travel through remote country, but cell phone coverage is generally good throughout the area. Please Know Before You Go.
Public lands within the Cedar City Field Office naturally lend to a variety of exploration and rich outdoor experiences. These awe-inspiring landscapes include opportunities like designated hiking trails, a rich cultural and historical legacy, wilderness areas, and wildlife viewing. In addition, there are ample opportunities for primitive camping, hiking, horseback riding, off-highway-vehicle travel (OHV), bird watching, rock hounding, mountain biking, nature study, and photography. Visitors willing to take the time to explore and discover this region will not be disappointed.
Above the town of Cedar City, high on Cedar Mountain, is the "C". The trailhead begins at the overlook above the "C" and takes you 4.2 miles down Cedar Mountain. From the trailhead you will see panoramic views of the mountain ranges and valleys. On the trail you will be traveling on the Markagunt Plateau, one of many plateaus that form the Colorado Plateau. Looking out to the west, Indian Peak rises to 9784 feet. You can watch a beautiful sunset as the western skies turn magnificent colors. Remember to give yourself enough time to complete the hike (approximately 4 hours round trip).
Constructed in coordination with BLM, Forest Service, Iron County, Cedar City and numerous volunteers, the C-Trail is the first recreational trail developed on BLM land in the Cedar City area and is open to non-motorized uses from hiking to biking and horseback riding.
Spring Creek Canyon
This is a pleasant and often spectacular hike along the creek bottom of Spring Creek Canyon. The Canyon is located 0.5 miles south and east of Kanarraville. Use is restricted to foot traffic only. The Canyon is very close to Cedar City (about 10 miles south), and abuts Zion National Park. Its wondrous slot canyons are best visited in the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
Public Lands administered by the St. George Field Office are a regional and national outdoor recreation destination. The convergence of three physiographic regions-Great Basin, Mojave, and Colorado Plateau-creates an extraordinarily scenic and diverse landscape. The presence of the Virgin River, a tributary of the Colorado, has created an area with a rich biological, geological, and cultural history.
Red Cliffs Recreation Site
Location: Just off I-15, 15 miles north of St.George, Utah, near Quail Lake.
What to See and Do: Red Cliffs is a charming year-round camping area, but particularly attractive in the Fall and Spring of the year when the cold settles in the north. The cliffs protect the campground from the harsh winter winds. When it is icy in the north, Red Cliffs is a pleasant place to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Summers can be hot within the rock enclosure.
Walk the trail to the Silver Reef lookout. Silver Reef is the only known place in the United States where commercial deposits of silver ore are found in a sandstone formation.
How to Get There: Take southbound Exit 23 off I-15 to the town of Leeds. Drive south through the town until you get to a sign that says Harrisburg and Red Cliffs Recreation Site. Northbound travelers take Exit 22, turn right and follow the road south approximately 2 miles to a sign that points to a road under the freeway (limited access 11' x 11'), 1 mile to the campground.
Red Hollow/Ripple Arch - aka Lone Pine Arch
Location: 25 miles NW (straight-line distance) of St. George, Utah.
What To See and Do: Non-trail hiking through sandstone formations and pinyon pines to ancient Indian rock art sties located in a beautiful red and white Navajo Sandstone formation area. A large sandstone arch is located about two-thirds up the west side of the main rock structure. The arch can be reached by experienced hikers without technical climbing but with a lot of rock scrambling. A large Ponderosa Pine stands above the arch, which is a help in locating it as the structure tends to blend in with the main rock wall behind it. Red Hollow is a great place for picnics.
How to Get There: Take old highway 91 NW out of St. George through Santa Clara and Ivins to the Shivwits Indian Reservation. Approximately six miles out of Ivins take the fork in the road to the left (stay on 91, do not take the Gunlock Road). Turn right on Motoqua Road just past the fork, and travel approximately 16 miles to a graded road on the right with a "USMX Gold Strike Mine, DI Ranch, and 12 Daggett Flat Road" sign. Follow this road 1.7 miles to a primitive road (hard to see) just before the cattle guard. Go east .5 mile to a fence with a gate. Park here and begin hiking, or, if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle and don't mind rough roads, continue approximately 1.5 miles to the sandstone formation in front of you.
Fort Pearce and Warner Valley Petroglyphs/Dinosaur Tracks
Location: 10-15 miles southeast of St. George, Utah, in Warner Valley.
What To See And Do: Easy walk to ruins of Fort Pearce. Easy to moderate hiking to petroglyph and dinosaur track sites. Fort Pearce was built in 1866-67 during the Black Hawk War. It is a small structure erected to protect a water source in Pearce Wash, but no battles were fought at this site. The fort never had a roof. About two miles further down the main road, visitors will find a fairly large concentration of dinosaur tracks in a sandstone wash well marked by BLM signs. There is also an interpretive sign at this location. Pearce Wash contains several pioneer names painted on the north wall of the wash near the fort.
How To Get There: Depart St. George south on River Road to the Virgin River Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left on 1450 South. Continue on main road and keep bearing to the east through several 90 degree left and right turns until you come to a large two-story farm house on the west side of road as you are traveling south. Turn left (east) on dirt road at the Fort Pearce sign and continue 5.6 miles to a road that branches right along a small wash to the Fort Pearce parking lot. Dinosaur tracks are 2.1 miles farther down main road that has a sign directing you to the parking area.
At Fort Pearce, visitors may visit the fort ruins and a small group of petroglyphs located approximately 20 feet downslope south of the fort. A short hike down into Pearce Wash to the southwest will bring you to the pioneer names on the north wall. Continuing down the wash and by careful observation of the north wall, several more petroglyph sites can be found periodically for about two miles. A beautiful large red anthropomorphic pictograph is located farther down the wash on the upper north wall, but directions to this site should be obtained from the BLM office in St. George.
Elephant Arch offers a great panoramic view of red sandstone hills and Pine Valley mountain. The arch is formed by wind and water erosion. It is really two arches stacked on top of one another. The large one slopes from the red rock and forms the elephant's trunk. A smaller arch sits near the top of the larger one and is considered the elephant's eyes and forehead. A person can walk under the larger arch.
How to Get There: The trail to Elephant Arch is about one and a half miles long and takes about one and a half hours. From Telegraph Road in Washington, Utah, take Main Street north and go under Interstate 15. On the other side of the Interstate go straight on a graded road for 1.5 miles to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve fence gate. Park here. No private vehicles are allowed in the Reserve. Cross over the fence and continue up the road about 0.25 miles.
Take the first right onto another graded road and travel for about 0.5 miles to a water pump station. Hike down the hill in a northeasterly direction until it joins the sandy wash at the bottom.
Hike in the wash in a east/northeast direction. It will be sandy and a bit difficult. After about twenty minutes the wash will narrow to a point where four-wheel vehicle tire marks are visible on the slickrock in the wash. The wash will widen shortly after this into a fork.
Leave the wash by following the trail between the two washes and slightly to the right. The trail goes up the hillside and branches into two trails. Take the right trail. As you go up, a red rock formation resembling a baseball catcher wearing a chest protector and hat on backwards, facing to the right, is in the distance straight ahead. Taking the trail uphill, you will see two other red rock formations to the left of the baseball catcher. The arch is behind the middle one. Follow the trail (not always obvious) until it ends at a dry stream bed filled with dark lava rocks. Follow the stream bed for about 10 to 20 minutes. It ends near the arch. The arch is to the right of the stream bed and is about half way up the red rock formation.
Remember to take a hat, carry water, and let someone know where you are going.
For more hiking ideas se the St. George Filed Office trails list. This link will take you to another web site and open in a new window. Simply close the window when finished to return to Willow Glen Inn.