Enthralling Elephant Arch, Washington, UT

Distance:~3.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy with the following disclaimer: ~ 2 miles of THICK sand walking

Part of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, this short hike delivers the reward of one of the coolest rock / arch formations that I’ve seen. (In my opinion, the Elephant rock in Valley of Fire doesn’t even compare.)  See it for yourself and let me know what you’ve seen that tops it.

Getting there: I-15N from St. George, Exit 10 to Washington. Left onto Green Springs Drive, immediate right onto Buena Vista Blvd. Follow. In about 1 mile, turn left onto the dirt road immediately after the fire station. Follow it for about 1.2 miles to the intersection of another dirt road and turn left onto this dirt road. In about a half mile you’ll see the parking area, gate and trailhead. (Directions are a bit tricky & terrain is variable–high clearance / 4-wheel drive vehicle helpful.) Took me 3x until I finally found it.

Trailhead GPS: 37.161671, -113.512897 Arch GPS: 37.177333, -113.494083

Notes: Full sun exposure, bring your water, hats, and sunscreen. (Spring, Fall & Winter are the best time of year for this one.) Leashed dogs allowed. Parking is free.

Happy trails!

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

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