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  • Writer's pictureChasingBuffaloesandBeyond

Visit Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest

Updated: Mar 1

Located along Hwy 12 between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park sits Dixie National Forest's Red Canyon. Red Canyon is filled with stunning hoodoos, arches, colorful red rock formations, pinnacles and some wonderful trails that are much less crowded than some of the trails you will find at nearby Bryce Canyon National Park. In fact, Red Canyon is basically just a smaller version of Bryce Canyon National Park, with it's own stunning red rocks and hoodoo formations and is worth adding to your itinerary when traveling thru Southern Utah. As part of a National Forest, it is free to visit Red Canyon, making it even more enticing to spend a few hours visiting this stunning area!

Red cliffs, hoodoos and green pine trees fill the view from the Arches Trail in Red Canyon.
Stunning views along the Arches Trail in Red Canyon


Red Arch Road Tunnels

Red Canyon Visitor Center

Arches Trail



Leaving Bryce Canyon National Park, it was a quick 20 minute drive along Hwy 12 to reach Red Canyon. Approaching Red Canyon you will first pass through two wonderful red arch road tunnels. These tunnels are carved right thru the red rock along the road and provide the unofficial entrance to Dixie National Forest's Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park. When Bryce Canyon National Park first opened back in 1925, it was at one of these tunnels that the ceremony was held. Driving through these tunnels was a fun experience! Make sure and pull over and take a quick picture of these wonderful tunnels!

Red Arch Tunnel along Hwy 12 near Red Canyon
Red Arch Tunnel along Hwy 12 near Red Canyon

Red rock arch tunnel along Hwy 12.
We loved driving thru these fun tunnels along Hwy 12!



Upon arriving to Red Canyon, you are greeted with the bright red rock formations that surround the Visitor Center area. Spend a few minutes inside the Red Canyon Visitor Center reading and learning about the area before hitting the trails. Dixie National Forest is actually the largest national forest in Utah covering almost 2 million acres and is divided into four different Ranger districts: Pine Valley, Cedar City, Powell and Escalante. Red Canyon is located in the Powell Ranger district. Make sure and stop for a picture with Smokey the Bear while at the Red Canyon Visitor Center - our three year old son loved seeing the statue of Smokey!

Little boy stands near a statue of Smokey the Bear at the Red Canyon Visitor Center in Dixie National Forest.
Having fun at Red Canyon Visitor Center!



There are a couple of great short, easy trails to pick from including the Pink Ledges & Hoodoo Trail (1.3 miles) , the Arches Trail (1.5 miles), or the Birdseye Trail (0.75 miles). We choose to hike the Arches Trail - and what a great choice! To reach this trail, it's a short drive away from the Visitor Center to reach the trailhead - turn right onto Hwy 12, right onto Casto Canyon Road, then right onto Losee Trailhead Road. To start off the trail, you pass thru a dry wash before climbing up into the rugged red rocks. Along the trail you will come across a small stone structure where it's said that Butch Cassidy used to store supplies. Continuing on, you are greeted to spectacular views of multiple red rock arches - in fact there are actually 15 different arches along the trail. We had a blast exploring and playing among the rock formations, hoodoos, windows and arches found along this fun trail - this was the perfect family friendly hike! Hiking the stunning Arches Trail was an absolute blast - I wish we would have had more time to hike additional trails in Dixie National Forest's Red Canyon!


Interested in planning your own trip to Dixie National Forest's Red Canyon? Below is our summarized itinerary for you to follow or adjust to your own preferences. ENJOY!

Red Canyon: Stop at Visitor Center, check out hoodoos near Visitor Center. Pick a hike: Pink Ledges & Hoodoo Trail 1.3 miles, Arches Trail 1.5 miles or Birdseye Trail 0.75 miles. Or if you have time - spend time hiking all three trails!

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