Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Part 3: Red Reef and Anasazi Trails

The previous two trips to Red Cliffs National Conservation Area we had gone to Cottonwood Canyon, but this trip we headed to the central canyon, which is a popular recreation area. We followed the short Red Reef Trail into the canyon where I was treated to my first view of the gorgeous smoothed sandstone walls and blue water of the creek but the trail was busy with families on spring break so we decided to walk back when we reached the end instead of exploring further by the waterfalls. Before we left however we walked the Anasazi Trail to look at the Ancestral Puebloan ruins of a village occupied from 700 – 1250 AD. The approximately 35 room settlement contained living rooms, extensive storage space, and was built in stages over 500 years as occupation of the settlement grew.

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Elephant log, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Elephant log, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Waterfall, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Waterfall, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Eroded tunnel in the sandstone, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Eroded tunnel in the sandstone, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Tom and Abby walking ahead of me, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Tom and Abby walking ahead of me, Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Ancestral Puebloan living and storage rooms ca. 900-1250 AD, Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Ancestral Puebloan living and storage rooms ca. 900-1250 AD, Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Ancestral Puebloan living rooms ca. 900-1250 AD, Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Ancestral Puebloan living rooms ca. 900-1250 AD, Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Storage cists, ca. 700 – 900 AD, Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Storage cists, ca. 700 – 900 AD, Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

View of the Red Cliffs from Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

View of the Red Cliffs from Anasazi Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah