Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Padre Canyon Hike, near St. George, Utah

Near the beginning of October I went to St. George. I had part of the afternoon free and decided to try out the Padre Canyon hike, which I learned about from Eric Hansen's On and Off the Beaten Path: Hiking Routes near St. George, Utah. The book is available locally from various stores.  I stashed my bike at the Hidden Pinyon trailhead and then drove up to Tuacahn.

I had never seen Tuacahn. It's an outdoor theater and also an alternative high school.  

After skirting the edge of the property, I finally reached the only trail sign I saw on this end for the hike. The hike up from Tuacahn was a very faint trail, but I knew that I needed to get to the saddle. On the other side, the trail was much easier to follow.

I saw several of these beautiful butterflies.

The trail led down a wash, and I found Padre Arch.

A bit further on were some fun sandstone formations.

And tiny frogs!

I couldn't resist a selfie. I was really there. Ha, ha.

Eventually all the fun obstacles ended and I came out to a big, sandy wash.

The flood debris reminded me that slot canyons aren't good places during rainstorms.

It was interesting to see how lava intruded in the sand.

Back to my bike and a great multi-use trail. It took me about two hours for the hike, and another hour to set up and complete the shuttle.

The hike was so much fun that I returned there the end of the month with my brother and kids. The kids enjoyed the secret pool next to a giant fin.

Some serious uncle-nephew conversation.

I knew the kids would love the hike because of all the obstacles. And I was right. They had to problem solve and stretch their minds and bodies in new ways. None of it was too technical--although at first it might have looked that way.

The numerous drop offs always had options to get around them.

The recent rain had left the pools a little higher, making it more challenging to stay dry.

Desert Boy tried to get his shoes across the pool, but didn't throw them far enough. Fortunately they floated!

Taller people had more options.

Desert Girl loves to jump!

The reflections were fun.
We all had a good time, and I highly recommend this hike to people looking for a little more of a challenge and not afraid of route-finding and a little backcountry. We didn't see other people on this hike on either of the trips, so you really feel like you're way out there. To learn more about this hike, check out the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve website.

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