Short Hikes Near St. George

Hurricane, UT

While we experienced some rain during our stay here at Sand Hollow State Park, the weather did clear enough for us to get out for three short but interesting hikes.

Babylon Arch – To get to this trailhead we drove north of the little town of Leeds (exit 22 north on I-15) and turned east on to 900 N Road, a maintained dirt road.  After a drive of three miles we took the left fork at a “Y” in the road, then a quick right into a dirt parking area.  The trailhead is in one corner of this parking area.

900 N Road

We followed the trail for about a quarter mile to where it joined a narrow two-track road.  After another quarter mile we came to another parking area that is designated the Sand Cove Primitive Camping Area.  The camping area is surrounded by colorful rock formations.

Pam named this Heart Arch

At the end of a wood fence is a step-over that is the beginning of the Arch Trail.

The arch trail meanders through some beautiful rock formations until you come to a bluff overlooking the Virgin River.

From the top of the bluff the trail goes steeply down through loose sand until you come to Babylon Arch.  Gravity made the hike down easy, but guess what trail we will use to get back!

Heading down (with the Virgin River in the background)

As you make your way down to the bottom of the sandy path you go around what looks like a large rock protruding from the sand.  Go around it and you discover it is the arch.

The arch looking north

The arch looking south

We continued past the arch for about a half mile to the north side of the Virgin River, where we turned around and headed back.

The Virgin River

We passed by the arch and headed back up through the deep sand.

Climbing up . . .

. . .  is very exciting!

As we hiked back through the campground area we were impressed with the view of the Pine Valley Mountains to the west.  This hike was a little over three miles.

Confluence Park Hurricane Trails – This trailhead is very easy to reach.  Just turn west on Main Street from West State Street in Hurricane and drive to the end of the road.  There you’ll find a parking area with restrooms and information signs.

After looking at a map at the trailhead we decided to combine four trails for a loop hike of just under three miles.  The first part of the hike took us west over a flat plain.

After a short distance the trail descended down a winding trail to the Virgin River.

It had rained fairly heavily the previous night, so the river was running strong and muddy.  When we hiked down to it from the Babylon Arch the previous day the water was crystal clear.  But things had changed!

Near the river there is a large fenced in area that serves as a care area for displaced Desert Tortoises.  After a stay here the tortoises are released in various sections of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.  We don’t know if there were any residents that day, but we didn’t see any.

See the nimble hiker with the Basalt rock towering above?

Yellow Knolls Trail – This trail is located northwest of St. George in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.  To get to the trailhead we drove about two miles south of exit 10 of I-15 on the E. Red Hills Parkway.  We then turned west on Cottonwood Springs Road, which turns into Old Dump Road, a smooth unpaved road.  The trailhead is in a small parking area 5.5 miles from Red Hills Parkway.

Yellow Knolls Trailhead

The hike begins with a long loop down through open prairie for about a mile.

It then follows a wash up into some beautiful rock formations that line both sides of the trail.

Lunch with a view

The trail goes on for miles into the rocks.  We went a little over two miles before turning around and hiking back to the trailhead.

All three of these trails are short, fairly easy, and filled with interesting scenery.  They are just three examples of the many trails in the St. George area.

That concludes our week stay in beautiful Sand Hollow State Park.  Our original plans were to move on to Page, AZ for a week at Wahweap RV and Campground on the shore of Lake Powell.  But a small purchase needs to be completed instead, so we are heading back to Boulder City, NV.  We’ll spend a week there to complete the closing on our new home, then head toward Bluff, UT to explore some Native American ruins.

More on that later . . .

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13 Responses to Short Hikes Near St. George

  1. Sue says:

    Interesting patterns on the underside of the arch (in the picture with John)…..Sorry you didn’t see any desert tortoise, but I guess that meant that none were in trouble so it was a good thing. See you in Bluff!

  2. Laurel says:

    Those all look like great little hikes! We’ve only explored Snow Canyon, so this gives us some other options next time we’re in the area. That arch is sweet! So exciting that you’re closing on your new home. I hope those floating pool chairs you found in the garage were included in the deal. :-))

  3. Nancy says:

    Gorgeous color and beautiful arches! I am just so excited for your new home and desert garden!!

  4. Jim and Barb says:

    Seeing all that red rock and the Babylon Arch has me itching to get back down there and do some hiking!

  5. I’m with Jim and Barb–all those red rock photos are making me miss Utah! Loved the arch!

  6. pmbweaver says:

    I love the rock formations and the colors are spectacular. Pine Valley Mountains are gorgeous.
    The sky in the second photo for Hurricane trail is so beautiful. I love the fluffy clouds!
    I love the swirl in the rocks on the Knolls Trail. I think Paul and I would really enjoy these three hikes.

  7. Erin says:

    Nothing quite like red rock country for sure. We have tentative plans for a road trip through Southern Utah next winter … I’ll be revisiting your posts for hiking ideas.

  8. Sherry says:

    You are fantastic at finding wonderful hikes every where you go. The colors of the rocks against the blue skies are so beautiful. Those first pictures of the landscape with all its lines and swirls just captivated me. You two look so perfect in those surroundings. The arch, the river, that may be the prettiest 3 mile hike I’ve seen though perhaps not the stiff climb up in the sand. What a place for tent camping. The difference in the turbidity of the river water on the second day is really amazing. Sorry no desert tortoises. We see a lot of gopher tortoises in Florida. Makes me wonder how they differ.

  9. Looks like a trio of fun hikes! I had forgotten how sandy that area can be! Makes for a good workout.

  10. Gay says:

    Nice! We have heard so much about St. George from friends here in Moab who freqypuently visit there for the off-reading. We have considered going there several times…it’s back on the radar. Your pictures are beautiful! Utah has so much to offer…

    See you soon!

  11. LuAnn says:

    Love those red rocks! Given your love of these rocks, we often thought your home base would be in Utah, perhaps even in St. George.

  12. geogypsy2u says:

    Hiking in soft sand is a bear yet the arch looks worth it. Not much snow on the Pine Valley Mts. Glad you didn’t have to cross that muddy Virgin River. What are the step-over boards for at the trailheads?

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