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Old 10-07-2013, 03:24 PM
 
Location: San Diego
359 posts, read 332,612 times
Reputation: 461

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We're coming to the area in (2) weeks and planned to stay out in Hurricane or Virgin. I will be mountain biking each day but my wife & daughter had planned on hiking in Zion National Park. Obviously, due to the government shutdown, all of the National Parks are currently shut down. I'm hoping to get some advice of where they can go hike outside of the parks.

Sooooo, what's ya got for me?
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Washington, UT
175 posts, read 478,099 times
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Well, let's hope the National Parks are all back open by then, but if not, here are some thoughts. Keep in mind, much of the hiking in southern Utah is on BLM land. However, I think some is still open to the public from this Q&A on the DOI website: http://www.doi.gov/shutdown/fy2014/upload/BLM-FAQ.pdf

Pioneer Park in St. George (city owned) - sits above the city and is a very neat and fun red rock "playground" for kids of all ages. This is a city park unlike any I've ever seen. You should read - not a regular park. Not really a hike, but a neat attraction. Free. Parks

Snow Canyon State Park - State owned land, open and benefiting from the closure ($6 a car I think). Beautiful. Nice variety of hiking. I've done Butterfly, Petrified Dunes, Cinder Cone and Johnson Canyon. I didn't like Cinder Cone, but the others were very nice. Johnson Canyon is my favorite, but I don't think it opens up till Nov (closes in the summer I think so wildlife can use its water source). Most hikes are 1-2 hours.

Kanarraville Falls - This is in my Top 10 favorites. Like a baby "Zion Narrows". Exit 42 as you go up I-15 North. Pay the $10 to park at the entrance (rather than at city hal). First mile is nothing special but after that, you start crossing the creek and eventually you end up walking in the creek up to the falls into the slot canyon. You will get wet up to the knees/thighs, so this would be good on a warmer day (70's if you get one) - or you can go to an outfitter and get the neoprene "socks" and a walking stick is helpful. Do not attempt if heavy rains are in the area - flash flood potential. It's an out an back, so you can turn back at any point. 2-3 hour total hike tops. Here's a good resource:
Joe's Guide to Zion National Park - Kanarra Creek Hiking Guide

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve (Some of this may be closed). Our favorite is the Red Cliffs Recreation Area in Leeds. I assume the campground area is closed, but some of the hikes may be open. I drove by yesterday and there were cars in the parking lot next the the highway (assume the gate was closed to the road leading to the campground)???
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Red Reef is our favorite there: Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Red Reef

Part of Red Cliffs Reserve, I also liked Yellow Knolls. Very unique with lava on one side and sandstone on the other. Cool hexagon shaped rock formations further in. We did as an out and back. Can't imagine this is closed. 2-3 hours
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Yellow Knolls

Gooseberry Mesa - BLM land. I spoke to a local bike shop yesterday who said it was open and not part of the shutdown. While mostly for mountain biking, I have hiked up there too! Very impressive views from Windmill Trail.

Are you camping? There are no hotels in Virgin (very small). Hurricane is a nice central spot with several hotels. I really like Springdale at the entrance to Zion (many hotels). Just a very neat little town but may be dead right now with the shutdown - although you might get a real cheap hotel rate just so they can fill rooms. Good places to eat there as well.

Good luck. Let me know if you have any more questions.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:49 PM
 
Location: San Diego
359 posts, read 332,612 times
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Thanks for all your help!! I've been out there several times but always for mountain biking. We rent a home off VRBO in Virgin every year. I'm familiar with Gooseberry, Little Creek and Church Rocks as those are places we ride every time we're out there. I was unaware of all the other places you mentioned. I think they will be especially excited about the "baby Narrows" trail as that was on their must do list this trip.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:29 PM
 
86 posts, read 205,753 times
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We went hiking today in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and everything was open with not a sign in sight about any shutdown.

We set off from the Chuckwalla parking area just off Hwy. 18 just north of Sunset Blvd. The outhouses were unlocked and appeared to have been serviced. Passed several mountain bikers so this might be an option for you and your family to hike and bike in the same area.

Lots of other good hikes in the Reserve. I also second Snow Canyon SP.

Sure hope this gets straightened out soon.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Washington, UT
175 posts, read 478,099 times
Reputation: 365
Glad to help. Have you ever tried JEM trail? Fun little downhill MTB trail right next to Gooseberry. (I like to do as a shuttle - since I'm lazy). Another to consider is Thunder Mountain (Utah Mountain Bike Trail Index Page) right outside of Bryce. About 1:30 from Virgin. Much cooler temps, but on a sunny day it would be a nice ride.

In St. George, Bearclaw Poppy is a fun roller coaster ride with some nice technical sections (all obstacles have easy route arounds for the less skilled).

Enjoy
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:59 PM
 
Location: San Diego
359 posts, read 332,612 times
Reputation: 461
Yep, always do JEM and I agree about the shuttle part We went To Park City, Brian Head and Thunder Mountain area last Summer for 10-12 days. I actually was hoping for more out of Thunder Mountain but we had a blast riding in Park City and the whole family rode Navajo Lake up near Duck Creek.

Aside from Church Rocks (love it) and Icehouse (hated it), we never seem to get into St George to ride but I've heard nothing but good stuff about Bearclaw Poppy, Barrel Roll and Zen trails over that way. Someday I'll get there but it's so hard to get away from Gosse and Little Creek.
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:26 PM
 
Location: City of North Las Vegas, NV
11,290 posts, read 7,877,038 times
Reputation: 3018
Just was out at Red Cliffs this weekend and the only area that's closed there is the recreation area with the fee. I went on the east side of I-15 down by the Virgin River and seen nobody else there!

info and pics here:https://www.facebook.com/YourRedCliffsDesertReserve
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