Close to Campus: Chuckwalla Trail

With Cedar Canyon buried in snow, Chuckwalla Loop in the Red Cliffs Desert Reservation is a good place for SUU students to get their southern Utah red rock fix.

Located in Red Cliffs’ Paradise Canyon, Chuckwalla trail is less than 30 min away from chilly Cedar City. The path is a little over one mile in length but connects to several other nearby trail. Returning visitors most often combine a few of these paths to take an effective loop from Chuckwalla, through Turtle Wall, Paradise Rim and Halfway wash and then return to the initial trail head. When completed, the loop is almost four miles distance and is also accessible in reverse order.

The first landmark on the trail is Chuckwalla Wall, a rock climbing crag. The wall of sandstone is covered in pockets, slopers and crimps. Overall, the routes are mostly for beginners and are easy on the hands.

Free to the public, Chuckwalla is appropriate for all ages and experience types. Though the hiking levels of these trials are easy, they are intermediate mountain biking routes due to deep sand. The trail also allows for equestrian riding but not ATVs.

This popular trail system contains almost every type of southern Utah terrain. From slickrock and dirt single tracks to scenic vistas and arches. Every trail in the Chuckwalla loop has something to offer its visitors.

Chuckwalla, as a part of Red Cliffs Desert Reservation, is surrounded by hundreds of different habitats and a wide range of wildlife. While exploring the scenery, it is very likely to spot cottontail rabbits, Gopher snakes, the endangered Desert Tortoise and over 100 other species.

Hikers are welcome to bring pets but are asked to keep them on leashes at all times. All visitors are expected to remain respectful of the desert reservation by staying on designated trails in order to preserve the wildlife.

The Chuckwalla trailhead is accessible from a parking lot off of Snow Canyon Parkway (State Route 18) north of Snow Canyon Parkway in Washington.

Story By: Ansleigh Mikesell
Photo By: Ansleigh Mikesell