Distance: 12 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 2,776 Feet
Difficulty: Moderate due to elevation gain & distance
A trip to the mountains is closer than you might think. From St, George. Pine Valley is a mere 30 miles away, but it’s worlds away in so many ways—at an elevation of 6,800, the temperature averages a refreshing ~20 degrees less than St. George.
Indeed when you enter picturesque, historic pine valley, you have arrived at an entirely different ecosystem. Mountain scenery and the Dixie Mountain Forest greet you.
If you’re looking for a wonderful hike in the woods and a solid workout, the Whipple Valley Trail will not disappoint. (It could more apply be named the Switchback Trail.) The single track trail terrain is running shoe friendly and will challenge your fitness level with a gradual, but insistently, consistent climb. At the beginning and end of the hike, you’ll be treated to the nature’s soundtrack of a gurgling stream.
Views of Pine Valley from the trail are lovely and Whipple Valley is delightful. I’ll admit the valley felt incomplete to me as I found myself yearning to take a dip in an alpine lake. (Yes there’s the reservoir back at the campground and I could have soaked my feet in the stream on the way back, but that’s just not the same.)
While I found the hike enjoyable and a great workout, I’m not sure I would do it again. This spoiled hiking snob found the views a bit repetitive and the hike a bit long for just a pretty valley reward. If you’ve got mountain fever and need some relief from the heat, this Pine Valley hike is a perfect fix.
You can continue the journey from the Whipple Valley juncture, perhaps I’ll explore those options from another starting point on another day.
Getting there: From St. George take the 18N and follow the signs for Pine Valley. Hike starts near the back of the campground.