Exploring Red Cliffs Desert Preserve and Snow Canyon State Park
For our first hike after returning to Utah, we rode with Terry down to the Red Cliffs. En route to the hike we decided to start from an unnamed trailhead the two of them had hiked from previously, one that was in close proximity to the boundary of Snow Canyon State Park and a rock joint that had multiple petroglyphs etched in the rock. The alignment of the joint prevented almost all sunlight from penetrating the depths making photography of the glyphs difficult, but Terry and I managed to get a few decent shots before exiting the narrow crack and rejoining Tom and Abby on top of the nearby sandstone fins.
From near the top of the sandstone knolls we could see black, iron-rich volcanic rock capping some of the red sandstone to the north and so decided to head in that direction. Within a couple miles we came upon multiple interesting formations and even a small cave; soon after we picked up a worn path running north that turned out to be the Gila Trail. The trail brought us back up a couple hundred feet to the canyon rim which provided more fantastic views and then dropped us into another canyon where we came upon wonderfully-striped rock and Liesegang rings swirled into the sandstone. Once we turned back we made a side trip out on a plateau finding moqui marbles (iron coated balls of sandstone) and the best view of the day – an overlook down the length of Snow Canyon.