Vermilion-colored rock formations and stands of ponderosa pine greet you as you enter Red Canyon. While many visitors think they are already in Bryce Canyon National Park, Red Canyon is actually a part of the Dixie National Forest, which stretches from the Nevada border to Capitol Reef National Park.
Red Canyon is part of the Claron Formation, the same geologic formation that created Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks. Sixty million years ago, sedimentary deposits in ancient lake created the formation: a combination of limestone, siltstone, shale, sandstone and conglomerate. Subsequent uplifting and faulting created massive blocks that streams later carved in to the Paunsaugunt and Aquarius Plateaus. A few million more years of erosion exposed the Claron Formation atop the plateaus. The fantastic ridges and spires, called hoodoos, are the result of weathering along the vertical fractures within the sandstone beds of the Claron Formation Variation in color of Red Canyon is due to the different amounts of iron and manganese present in each layer of the prehistoric sediment.
Must See & Do
Hiking in Red Canyon is a great way to explore the region and experience the beautiful scenery off the beaten path. Stop at the Red Canyon Visitor Center for detailed information about the trails. Be prepared with a good supply of water, good hiking shoes, maps, sun-screen and plenty of time.
Paved Bike Path
A beautiful paved bicycle path runs 5 miles along Scenic Byway U-12. Bike through the towering pines and red rocks of this beautiful Utah recreation area. The paved bike trail runs from the Thunder Mountain Trailhead to Coyote Hollow Road.
Red Canyon is considered to be one of the most scenic mountain biking areas in Utah. Besides the paved bike trail along Hwy U-12, there are 34 miles of single track bike trails to choose from. Check for trail info at the Red Canyon Visitor Center.
OHV & Four Wheeling
OHV use is allowed on the Casto Canyon Trail. Beginning at the Casto Canyon trailhead the trail takes you into a wonderful world of red hoodoos, sandstone cliffs of white, pink and even green colors. The spectacular red rock is evident along most of the Casto Canyon ride until you reach the forested areas of ponderosa pines where the colors changes with every turn of the trail.