Red Cliffs + Kolob

May 20, 2017


The day after Zion, we stopped by Red Cliffs & Kolob Canyon on the long drive home. I didn't love all the crowds in Zion, so I was hoping Red Cliffs would be a little more empty so we could really get lost in the environment. 


Red Cliffs is a National Recreation Area, so if you have an annual National Parks Pass, this will get you in for free! There are actually a few hikes in this area, a bunch of campsites and restrooms, so I'm intrigued to come back for some "easy" camping in the future. The Red Cliffs hike is the main draw & hike for the area due to the small waterfall, swimming holes and stream.




This hike was definitely a LOT less crowded than Zion. We passed people occasionally, but we mostly had quiet moments to ourselves. Going at the end of April was warm without being overly hot (though I did get a little sunburn!). It's a pretty easy hike about 1.5 miles out and back.


The entire hike is gorgeous. At one point you reach a really pretty vista and we stopped to snap a quick picture and get a little video.



Found Pride Rock along the way :)





Not our most flattering picture and I honestly don't even recognize myself, but oh well! Take the picture anyway! Memories!


Eventually the trail runs across the stream. The water was super low when we were there, but we could tell there had been some recent floods coming through the canyon. The stream ends at a shallow pool of water - you have to hike up above to get to the waterfall and see more water.



At this point, we found all the people! Kids were playing in the pools, dogs were running all over the place - if we had hiked up past those people we could've found deeper water and less people, but Zach still wasn't feeling well, so we ended our hike here. 


I wish wish wish we could've gone farther and spent more time there, but that'll be the goal for next time (note to self & husband: try to avoid getting sick right before a hiking trip!)

Just a bit north on I-15 (and on the route home), we stopped off at Kolob Canyon. We had actually planned to get engaged here (when Zach's Plan A failed), but a series of unfortunate events ruined that (yes, 3 proposal attempts, long story for another post!), so we wanted to actually go see what we missed last winter!

Kolob Canyon is the most northwestern portion of Zion National Park and pretty detached from Zion Canyon, where we were the previous day. There are moderate to hard trail down into the canyon, but most visitors just drive the scenic road to the viewpoint.


That's the view we almost had when we got engaged! I wish I had taken more photos or a video of the drive because this picture does NOT do the entire experience justice!

We had such a fun little extended weekend: St. George Temple, Zion, good food, reuniting with friends, discovering Red Cliffs. Pretty soon my job is going to get incredibly busy for the summer (Adventure Week, the Amphitheater season, 4th of July, city events), so we won't be able to take another trip until probably the fall. I'm hoping we can maybe sneak in my first camping trip in August or something fun for our anniversary in July (or both!).

If you've never been, I definitely recommend Zion & Red Cliffs. Try to visit Zion in the off season so you can avoid most of the crowds. (I have some other tips about where to stay & eat up in the Zion post as well). Red Cliffs is great, especially in the spring and fall, where you can enjoy the water without freezing, but also not die of heat on the hike. Both Zion & Red Cliffs are great places to visit if you have children or aren't intense hikers. Zion has great ADA trails as well if mobility is an issue.

I'm grateful we're able to take little trips like this to get to know our beautiful country better. If we didn't make the effort, we'd easily fall into the routine of being homebodies and never exploring, but it's definitely been worth the little effort to schedule, take a day or two off work and plan out these little trips! Eventually it won't just be the two of us and I'm glad we're making little memories from our first year of marriage.

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13 thoughts

  1. I love your photos!! The colors are extremely gorgeous. This sounds like a great place to just reflect and enjoy the brilliance of nature. Definitely a place to add to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing! :D

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  2. This place looks like something out of Game of Thrones

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    1. I've never seen Game of Thrones but I think I'm going to have to start now!

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  3. What a fantastic place to hike! I love how the red rocks stand in contrast to the beautiful blue skies. You managed some really good pictures on a nice clear and sunny day. I also do not see a lot of crowd there, such remote places are the best to explore!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, it's always best without tons of people around!

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  4. Wow what a gorgeous place - your photos are amazing! I live to hike, definitely want to explore more :)

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    1. Thanks! You have incredible hiking adventures on your blog too :)

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  5. Such beautiful photos. Looks so peaceful!

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  6. These are gorgeous photos! I've been more out of the US than in the US. I really need to explore more of the US!

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    1. I've only been out of the US twice and it was to Canada - I need to explore more outside the US!

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  7. What a beautiful hike! It would've been the prefect place for a proposal, now I'm intrigued on that story! I love the photo of you two together even if you don't find it g flattering. You both look happy, satisfied and rosy from the walk. I would love to do this hike one day. Thanks for a well written, informative post x

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    1. Aw thank you! And yes, I need to post the proposal fail story soon!

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