still_exploring

discovering God's creation

Red Reef Above Harrisburg Flat

This area of the Red Reef is accessed from the southern section of the Red Reef trail which follows a sandy wash for most of its length. The main Red Reef trail is accessed from the Cottonwood Canyon parking lot near the Hurricane Industrial Park.

Along the main Red Reef trail there are several places where access can be made into the upper reaches of the Red Cliffs wilderness area through drainage washes and canyons which enter the main Red Reef Wash from the north. The ones we explored are:

  1. A major wash which enters the main Red Reef wash (GPS 37.20018,-113.42870) 2.5 miles from the Cottonwood Parking lot. This side wash drains the north west section of the upper Red Cliffs area. The total distance to the head of this wash which ends in a box canyon is 7.8 miles return.
  2. A smaller wash which enters the main Red Reef wash (GPS 37.20018,-113.42870) 2.0 miles from the Cottonwood Parking lot. This side wash leads to the north east section of the upper Red Cliffs area. The total distance to a viewpoint overlooking the Red Cliffs Campground is 7.7 miles return.
  3. A narrow steep canyon that drops over a 15 foot high dry fall into the main Red Cliffs wash (GPS 37.196821,-113.428153) 1.5 miles from the Cottonwood parking lot. This canyon leads to the north east section of the upper Red Cliffs area, is shorter than #2, but requires rock climbing skills.
  4. A horse trail enters the main Red Reef wash 1.2 miles from the Cottonwood parking lot (GPS 37.19543,-113.42738). This trail crosses several hills and washes and requires some exploring to find the right trail that leads to the upper north east section of Red Cliffs.
Trail Rating #1

Overall rating = moderate

Distance: 7.85 miles return – moderate
Elevation gain: 900 feet – difficult
Terrain: Deep sand – moderate
Exposure: none – easy

Trail Rating #2,3,4

Overall rating = moderate

Distance: 7.7 miles return – moderate
Elevation gain: 1100 feet – difficult
Terrain: Deep sand – moderate
Exposure: none unless access via #3 – easy

To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System

Getting There

From Interstate I15 take exit 16 to State Road 9 east towards Hurricane. Turn left at the first set of traffic lights – Old Hwy 91, 6300W, 0.9 miles from the interstate.

Take Old Hwy 91 through the industrial park 2 miles and turn left on the gravel road between the Winkel Distributers building and the Rocky Mountain Power building. This gravel road takes you under I15 to the Cottonwood Parking Lot.

Directions to Parking Lot from I15

Cottonwood Parking Lot

The Trail

The trail leaves the Cottonwood parking lot and crosses the Harrisburg flats ¼ mile to the junction of the Prospector Trail. Take the right branch and follow this trail about 500 feet to the junction of the Prospector Trail on the right and the Cottonwood Canyon Trail on the left. Take the Cottonwood Trail down the hill to the Cottonwood Wash and along the left side of the wash a total of about 1000 feet to the Red Reef Trail sign.

Follow this Red Reef Trail down through the Cottonwood Wash, up the other side, over a small hill, and down into the Red Reef Wash. Turn left here and follow this trail to one of the access routes into the upper Red Reef area.
Red_Reef_Above_Harrisburg_Flat

This is a dry trail with no drinking water so be prepared in hot weather.

Here are some pictures taken along the major wash into the north west section of the upper Red Reef, #1.
DSC_5287_9_acuDSC_5290_2_acuDSC_5353_5_acuDSC_5308_10_acuDSC_5311_3_acuDSC_5320DSC_5321_27_auDSC_5329_31_acuDSC_5332_4_acuDSC_5335_7_acuDSC_5338_40_acuDSC_5341_3_acuDSC_5344_6_acuDSC_5347_9_acuDSC_5350_2_acu

Here are some of the pictures taken along the routes into the north east section of the upper Red Reef, #2, 3, 4.
DSC_5359_61_acuDSC_5362_4_acuDSC_5365_7_acuDSC_5368_70_acuDSC_5371_3_acuDSC_5374_6_acuDSC_5380_94_acuDSC_5402_4_acuDSC_5408_10_acuDSC_5411_3_acuDSC_5414_6_acuDSC_5420_2_acuDSC_5423_5_acuDSC_5426_8_acuDSC_5435_7_acuDSC_5438_40_acuDSC_5442IMG_0169_uIMG_0175_uIMG_0178_uIMG_0190_uDSC_5445_7_acuDSC_5452_4_acuDSC_5472_4_acuDSC_5475_7_acuDSC_5478_80_acuDSC_5481_3_acu