After doing a bit of research on hikes in the St. George area, the nimble hiker discovered a great spot in the foothills just a few miles to our west. Yant Flat (also referred to as the Candy Cliffs) is a large expanse of reddish-orange sandstone protruding from the mountains of Red Cliffs National Conservation Area to the north of St. George. The sandstone formations are remnants of ancient petrified dunes which over time have been pushed up and exposed. The forces of nature have slowly carved them into all sorts of fascinating shapes and patterns.
To get to Yant Flat we drove through the tiny town of Leeds (exit 22 on I-15) to the north end of Main Street. We turned left (west) onto Silver Reef Road and followed it for 1.2 miles to where it turns into a dirt road (Oak Grove Road). We continued up that road for another two miles to where the road forks. We turned left toward St. George on Forest Road 31 and drove about seven miles to a small parking area on the south side of the road (across from the junction with FR 903).
The trail begins with a mile long hike across Yant Flat on a sandy path through an area of low vegetation.
At the end of the mile trek the world opens up into a wide area of colorful sandstone formations known as Candy Cliffs.
A trail follows the rim of the sandstone with great views of the Candy Cliffs to the south. But we couldn’t resist going down into the rocks for a better look. It’s a bit steep but sandstone provides great traction.
At the base of the slickrock we were surrounded by colorful rocks crisscrossed with interesting erosion patterns.
We looked up to the top of a rock formation in front of us and spotted a lone hiker enjoying the view. It looked like a perfect spot to enjoy lunch.
As we climbed, we stopped often to enjoy the interesting formations along the way.
After lunch we climbed back down into the little valley while continuing to marvel at the beauty all around us.
We then began the steep climb back up to the canyon rim.
While hiking back through the flat, we noticed a couple of interesting cactus varieties we have not seen before.
This hike has something for any level of hiker. The dirt roads leading to the trailhead are easily driven in any vehicle. The one mile hike over Yant Flat is sandy but not that difficult. If you’re not into a strenuous hike, the view from the rim of Candy Cliffs is well worth the hike across the flat. Up for a bit more challenge? Then make your way down into the cliffs and do some further exploration. Either way, you’ll love the experience.