Red Canyon: Golden Wall and Castle Bridge Trails

The Red Canyon, in the Powell Ranger District of Dixie National Forest, was the first stop on our two week trip to the northern section of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Located just west of Bryce Canyon, the area boasts red rock hoodoos and spires similar to the national park but without the people. We decided to make a loop, hiking the Golden Wall and Castle Bridge Trails before returning to Route 12 along the Buckhorn Trail and walking the ½ mile back along Route 12 to our trailhead. Combined the trails were about 5 ½ miles, which made for a perfect afternoon walk en route to our overnight spot. There are a few steep climbs along the way too which was a nice warmup for some of the trails we had planned.

Lying between 7,100 and 7,800 feet in elevation, the orange and red sandstone formations are dotted with firs and ponderosa pines, which offers strikingly beautiful contrasts with the dark green conifers. Its a fantastic landscape and one that cannot help but to impress. The trails provide closeup access to hoodoos and eroding walls, but there are endless places to overlook the canyons and valleys below that drain into the Sevier River. The Golden Wall Trail segment of our loop – which I would argue was the most scenic – climbs nearly 700 feet up a saddle from which you can get 360 degree views. You make a final ascent near the junction with the Buckhorn Trail and from here you get even more spectacular views of the Fishlake Mountains to the north as well as the closeup of the eponymous Golden Wall.

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Tom taking photos on the Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Tom taking photos on the Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Dead bristlecone pine, Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Dead bristlecone pine, Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Castle Bridge Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Twofer: double-trunk ponderosa pine, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Twofer: double-trunk ponderosa pine, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Snack break on the Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Snack break on the Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

2015-11-02 MammothCave_GrosArch_canon (189)

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Alpaca rock, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Alpaca rock, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Abby leading the way, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Abby leading the way, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Tom and Abby, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Tom and Abby, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Glad they put steps here – this is way way steeper than it looks, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Glad they put steps here – this is way way steeper than it looks, Golden Wall Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Buckhorn Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Buckhorn Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Clouds rolling in on the Buckhorn Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Clouds rolling in on the Buckhorn Trail, Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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