I had one final stop in mind before we truly headed home: Red Canyon. At the far western end of Scenic Byway 12, it’s a Bryce Canyon look-a-like within Dixie National Forest. We stopped briefly in 2017 to admire the tunnels and roadside hoodoos, but this time I was interested in doing a short hike. I wanted one last stretch-of-the-legs before we ended our trip.
I didn’t have a particular trail picked out, so we stopped at the visitor center to get a map and advice. I didn’t want to do a long hike after Willis Creek, just enough to give Truman some exercise before the ride home. The woman I spoke to at the visitor center suggested a 2 mile loop using the Pink Ledges Trail from the parking lot, connecting to the Birdseye Trail, and looping back to the visitor center via the bike path across the road. It sounded perfect.
I was a little worried that a trail so close to the visitor center would be crowded, but we hardly saw any other people. I overheard several people ask if they were at Bryce Canyon in the visitor center, so maybe they stop and move on after discovering they aren’t quite there yet. The Pink Ledges Trail quickly led us up and away from the parking lot. It provided some nice views of hoodoos and pink ledges through the tops of towering ponderosa pine.
We continued on via the Hoodoo connector to the Birdseye Trail. Here the trail led us through the shaded floor of the canyon, across a small creek, and to a serpentine path etched into the side of the talus slope. We didn’t see anyone on that stretch of the trail and our perspective opened up to include the landscape we’d just hiked and the sandstone cliffs across the highway.
At the end of Birdseye, we climbed to a photo spot for a really nice view of Red Canyon. It was a simple hike; there wasn’t anything challenging about it, but it was pleasantly quiet and peaceful. Truman was sufficiently tired, and we were ready to begin the four hour drive home. I wouldn’t mind doing some of the longer hikes in Red Canyon the next time we’re in the area. It’s a beautiful place.