Explorations in the Mountains Around Red Creek Reservoir

With so much public land in the area surrounding Cedar City it isn’t difficult to find new places to explore. It is slightly more difficult however to decide which new place to explore. I frequently break out the maps and usually end up deciding in a fairly random fashion dependent on weather, accessibility, and whatever catches my eye. And although there are plenty of trails in the national forest and on BLM land I almost as frequently choose a place without trails and will navigate using the landscape after I leave the forest roads. This is basically what I ended up doing a couple weeks ago when I headed out to Red Creek Reservoir.

We had been going up to hike the side canyons of Parowan Canyon recently and it had occurred to me that there were likely more major canyons to the north of Parowan. After consulting my forest service map I determined my theory was correct; just to the north was a forest road that led up Red Creek Canyon to a reservoir at 8,000 feet. Figuring I should be able to drive up to at least the reservoir before hitting the snow line, Abby and I headed off on a windy morning to go check out the area. I parked on the west side of the water and Abbs and I walked along the shore heading east towards the mountains until we ran into the creek – and FR 078 that paralleled the creek. From here we began walking uphill into the surrounding mountains, crossing sections of snow and mud as we climbed in elevation through aspen, fir, and sage flats. After a couple miles we passed the junction with FR 076 and turned north northeast, out of the sun and into dense mature fir forest and snow. Meadows began to break up the tree cover after another mile or two and I found myself able to see bits of the stunning snow-capped Tushar Peaks in Fishlake National Forest to the north.

I turned around after a few miles as I didn’t wish to follow the road’s descent but our explorations on the return led us to follow some ridge lines that provided some spectacular views of the reservoir below. As a bonus the wind died down quite a bit around this time which made for a pleasant stroll back down to the car. I have definitely bookmarked this area for further exploration once the roads clear and hope to return in May to see the rainbow trout that supposedly spawn in the creek.