Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hiking the Cassidy Trail in Red Canyon

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Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
Red Canyon is located off HWY 12 near Bryce Canyon National Park, which compared to it's famous neighbor, sees half the visitors. And for good reason - there's no national park name attached it, and many people do not realize how many trails are in the canyon. In particular, the Cassidy Trail, is one of the best in the canyon. No fees, dog friendly, shade, and amazing views all located in the Dixie National Forest - does it get any better?

Red Canyon itself is a relatively shallow valley on the Paunsaugunt Plateau surrounded by exposed orange and red limestone. The rocks have eroded into the familiar pinnacles, spires, columns, and hoodoos which are also found in Bryce Canyon National Park (BCNP). Because most visitors are on their way to or from BCNP, they don't take the time to stop in the canyon. However, the Cassidy Trail is very well worth the time. The canyon extends for several miles, but you can choose your own distance. We were headed back home after 5 days in the Escalante, and made this our last stop to let the dogs stretch their legs before sitting in the car for 4 hours. We only had a few hours, so we did a 4 mile loop: up the Cassidy Trail, to Ledge Point, over to the Rich Trail, then looped back.

The Cassidy Trail makes for a great option to bring dogs to since BCNP allows them on hardly any trails plus always need to be leashed. You can still see everything that Bryce has to offer here, without ever going into the park! This trail is accessible year round, but is best done in Spring and Fall once the temperatures have cooled off.

From Panguitch, Utah, head south on HWY 89, then turn left for BCNP on HWY 12. Drive 4.5 miles, then turn left into the TH parking area.

Here is a driving map.

Distance: 4.5 mile loop
Elevation gain: 451 ft
Time: 2-3 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Yes!
Fees/Permits? None

Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
The trail begins in the NW area of the parking lot. If you had a full day, another hiking option is to go all the way to Losee Canyon. We didn't have that much time, so we created our own 4 mile loop.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 The trail itself is super mellow and easy to follow.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 We hiked here early on a Sunday morning, and didn't see anyone until we started hiking back. Normally, this trail can become quite crowded with other runners and mountain bikers. I highly recommend starting early (before 9am) so that the dogs don't get too hot, plus you won't have to worry about moving off the trail as much to let others pass.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 I loved the tall Ponderosa trees!
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
At 1 mile you'll see the first trail split. We went left for the Rich Trail, which also leads to Ledge Point.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
The hoodoos start to appear on the hillside to your right.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
Turn left again for Ledge Point.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
On the way to Ledge Point. If you haven't noticed from past posts, I can be a dare devil! I love scrambling.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 Heather snapped this photo of us - it's my new favorite!
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 My girls at Ledge Point! 

This was definitely the highlight of this hike - views as far as you can see with a mix of red canyon, mountains, and desert. Amazing!
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
When the hike you are on and your dog match...

Charlie loves the wind in his ears.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
Continue around the loop to meet back up with the Rich Trail. 
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
There are so many cool spots along this trail! Heather was quite the photographer this trip.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 She kept us moving at a comfortable pace too.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 We saw another trail junction, and just looking at the time, we had to start heading back. We had to drive a few hours to get home that night.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 We made our way back down to the cars, and into the trees.
Hiking the Butch Cassidy Trail, Red Canyon near Bryce Canyon National Park
 We loved this trail! Hardly any elevation gain, great views, very few people - we will definitely come back and hike all the way to Losee Canyon.


Trail map

 

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1 comment:

  1. Red Canyon is so nice and without the people. After Bryce it is nice to enjoy the red rocks alone. The Golden Wall and Castle Bridge Trail is an awesome loop with some slippery slopes and amazing scenery.

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