Yowza! Yant Flat! Leeds, UT

Also known as Candy Cliffs, this rocky wonderland is more than sweet- it requires a default to the overused superlative “EPIC” with an added “for sure”!

Only the first mile is a sandy trail, the rest is create your own adventure (at your own risk) across all types of fascinating colored and textured rock topography. Some steep, slippery sections… If you’re lucky, you might find the one crevasse that will take you down to the wash that you barely see in the distance way down below. Or like me, you may choose the wrong route and end up at a dead end, which could turn into a dead end in more ways than 1.

Length: 2-infinity miles

Getting there (4-wheel drive with clearance recommended): Cottonwood Springs Road in St. George to FR903

Notes: Would not attempt the drive or hike in the rain

For similar views at a slightly smaller scale and without the need for a 4-wheel drive, check out the Snow Canyon Overlook Trail

Ravishing (but overrun) Red Reef, Hurricane, UT

Short and splendid, this incredibly scenic area features a waterfall, a creek, a slot canyon, a cave, a mini-rock / rope climb, cliffs to scale—oh, my! So much is the span of a short out and back trail (2 miles total). It’s like a mini-Zion. The bad news is that it has the crowds to match. (Sigh.) (Reality pic is the last one in the slide show.) Thankfully everyone is respecting the natural beauty and leaving no trace. The good news is that solitude it just an upcliff scramble or mini-rope rock climb away…

Getting there: Exit 22 towards UT-228 N, right on old highway 91 to the Red Cliffs National Conservation area

Fee: $5

Happy Trails!

Heavenly Hell Hole, Ivins, UT

Distance: ~3.4 Miles

Difficulty: Easy, but rocky terrain in wash (lower trail), sandy terrain (upper trail)

Magnificent red mountain views, panoramic vistas, and the possibility of waterfalls await. After a recent rain or snow, if the timing is right, and you’re lucky, you just might sight one of the rare and wonderful waterfalls.

You can take the lower wash trail and navigate a continuous rock field or you can take the sandy upper trail above the wash. For variety, take 1 out and the other back. Once you’re on top of the ridge, stop and listen for the sound of water, look carefully and closely at the dark veins running down the red cliffs. Watch for movement and light reflecting.

Continue hiking to very back of the canyon for some bouldering and scrambling fun. Be safe!

Notes: Exposed hike, best enjoyed in Winter, Spring, Fall

Getting there: Park along 779 Taviawk Dr, Ivins, UT

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!

Scouting Scout’s Cave, Snow Canyon, St.George, UT

Distance: 5.5 miles Round trip

Difficulty: Easy, but there is another option via Paradise Rim that’s a little more rugged / interesting.

stairway to heaven
Stairway to heavenly views

Great hike, cool cave, splendid views!

Not a bad spot for a little yoga practice too.

Need I say more? I think not. If you’re in the area for a limited time, this is a good one for your “to do” list.

Getting there: Snow Canyon State Park, Ivins’ entrance. The trailhead is on the right before you reach the park gate. Park in the lot on the left. If you’d like a little more challenging / rugged approach, you can take Lakota Drive to the trailhead for Paradise Rim and come in from the backside. You can also add on a couple miles (~2 each way) if you park at the Chuckwalla parking lot and take the Turtle Rock Trail to connect to the Paradise Rim trail. Anyway, you go, you can’t go wrong.

A little more choppy and a little more climbing on the Paradise Rim Trail

going back up Scouts Cave