Molly’s Nipple: Short, Steep, Slick & Sweet, Hurricane, UT

Elevation gain: 1,231 ft

Miles: 1.63 miles

Difficulty: Moderate + due to steepness and fickle footing

This suburban quickie is worth a scramble for the views and the workout. I didn’t catch it on a clear day, but the panoramic views were still quite expansive. The trail climbs steeply up out of the growing subdivision. I recommend hiking boots – the more traction the better as it’s all loose rocks and sand that rolls like marbles under foot. Not recommended in the rain, unless you want to take a slide down the slippery slope. There’s a cool wash area at the bottom and further up the road, there are some interesting caves to explore…

As John Maxwell says, and those who know me, know I agree wholeheartedly, “Everything worthwhile is uphill, EVERYTHING.” So get some good incline in today!

If you’re in the area, stop for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner at https://riverrockroasters.com/. One of my local top picks! You won’t be disappointed. Check out the views from there.

Truth in advertising, the subdivision is a bit of an eyesore. (Sigh.)

Getting there: 1-15 N and UT-9E/W State Street to S700 W Airport Road to South 675 W

Mansard Trail, Kanab, UT Scenic hike with great views, rock formations, and petroglyphs!

Distance: ~5.2 miles

Elevation gain: 1,311 ft

Difficultly: Easy to moderate depending on your fitness level (1 easy scramble required midway)

I loved this little hike. A feast for the eyes and spirit–the vermillion cliffs, the white rocks, the green pines and Bristlecones, the incredible rock formations along the way, the sweeping views of Kanab and the plateaus of northern Arizona, and the big reward of the magnificent alcove with its amazing petroglyphs. The single-track, switchback trail is red dirt most of the way up and thick, fine sand for the last 1/2 mile – great trail running terrain. If you’re in the Kanab area – it’s an absolute must do! Perhaps you can see why…

Notes: No permits needed. Free parking. The petroglyphs date back to the Anasazi period 0 AD to about 1250 AD and are on the floor of the alcove. Take care not to touch or step on any of the ancient art as oil from your hands or your pets’ paws can destroy the petroglyphs.

Getting there: The trailhead us just 6 miles east of the center of Kanab at 4825-4826 Rock Edge Lane

Happy trails!

Veyo Loop—Epic, Scenic Road Biking in the St. George Area

Distance: ~45 Miles

Elevation gain: ~2,600 ft of climbing (the climb up Snow Canyon alone  is 6 miles, 4% grade, and 1,450 ft elevation gain). Clockwise or counter clockwise – either climb Snow Canyon or “The Wall”

Highlights: Gunlock Reservoir, Snow Canyon State Park, Veyo Pie shop, Cinder cones, horses, cows, goats, deer, hawks, quail, road runners, and not a single stoplight (though I once had to slow to let some free range cattle cross)

This incredibly scenic, well-marked route has the distinction of being the 1st official designated cycling route in Washington County, UT, it take you through the towns of Diamond Valley, Dammeron Valley, Veyo, Gunlock, and Ivins. The Vejo Pie Shop is a must stop for many to refuel and indulge in a piece of their famed pies. The loop is a popular training route for triathletes for the Ironman 70.3 St. George and it was part of the full Ironman St. George course and the recent “Tour de St. George” century ride. I’m so fortunate to have this spectacular ride as my local “go to” ride. If you’re a road biker, this is a must do if you’re in the area.

Notes: Snow Canyon State Park has an entry fee: $10 for locals/ $15 for out of towners, you can also bypass the park and climb or descend the 18 highway instead. There’s a bike path that runs parallel to the 18, northbound the hills are quite a bit stepper than the highway (knee grinders). For the most part, there’s ample room on the highway, but there are 18-wheelers and trucks with trailers whizzing by so it’s not for the faint of heart…Also, be forewarned there’s a fair amount of debris on the roadsides – glass, steel radial, etc…Be prepared, bring your tough tires and a couple of tubes, Co2s, a hand pump, and plenty of water, especially in the summer. Enjoy the ride!

Views to the North and South From Padre Canyon, Ivins, UT

Distance: 2.9 miles out and back or ~8 miles if you descend down the north side of the canyon and loop through Snow Canyon back to Tuacahn

Elevation gain: ~750

Difficulty: Moderate-depending on fitness level – due to deteriorating / rugged  (rocky/sandy/slippery) trail conditions and the climb.

This was my first hike as an official resident of St. George. It’s a good one, rewarding with great views at the “peak” south back the way you came and north into Snow Canyon. For a longer adventure, you can keep going north and then hike your way right until you arrive at the bottom of snow canyon. You will have to walk the paved bike path and the road to get back to the Tuacahn parking lot this way, but you will be immersed in spectacular views the entire time. For a shorter adventure without pavement, you can simply do an out and back as far as your heart desires.

Either way, you can’t wrong. Enjoy!

Directions: The Saddleback / Padre Canyon trailhead is in Ivin’s at the top right of the Tuacahn parking lot to the right.

Notes: Free parking

Spring Creek Canyon, A Perfect Little Fall Hike, Kanarraville, UT

Distance: ~5.5 Miles

Elevation: 948 ft

Difficulty: Easy to more difficult if you scramble/bushwhack your way further up the slot canyon

Terrain: Starts out as a sandy trail and gradually gets rockier. There are a couple of short slot canyon offshoots to the left and right to explore along the way. At about mile 2.5 the trail begins to disappear into the heavy overgrowth. Continue on if you’re up the challenge.

Located just outside the Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park, Spring Creek slot canyon makes for a beautiful hike any time of year, but especially in leaf peeping season – as you can see why. There are a few minor creek crossings, but it’s relatively easy to keep your feet dry. (No water shoes needed.) I took the trail 4.5 miles up – if you’re going beyond 2.5 miles, I highly recommend hiking shoes and long pants.

Getting there: Take the I-15 to the Kanarraville Exit, and follow the main route to the south edge of town. At 400 South Main Street, take the route that heads southeast toward the cliffs. Follow it for about 0.82 miles to the parking area and trailhead.