Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail – Red Rock Canyon State Park

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The Red Cliffs Nature Trail is a short 0.8-mile loop hike located in California’s Red Rock Canyon State Park. This hike gains a modest 80ft of elevation, while passing by the iconic sedimentary red rocks that Red Rock Canyon State Park is known for.

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail


Directions And GPS Tracks:

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
At The Parking Lot

Key Points:

  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 80 ft
  • Minimum Elevation: 2424 ft
  • Maximum Elevation: 2490 ft
  • Time: .5 hours
  • Difficulty: (1/5)
  • Dog Friendly: Yes
  • Permit Required: No
  • Parking: Free parking located in a lot at the trailhead
  • Weather: This is the desert and it can be extremely hot and dry. Be extremely vigilant for flash floods as well.
  • Trail Condition: Wide, smooth, and sandy
  • Cell Phone Reception: Spotty

Make sure to hike with the right gear. See my current hiking gear list. 


Hike Map And Elevation Profile:

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park


Hike Description:

The Red Rock Canyon area was underwater and the bottom of a lake 10 million years ago. Sediment flowed down from the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains and was deposited in layers. The workings of time and pressure turned that sediment into layers of rock, and the shifting pressures of plate tectonics eventually led to the dying up of the lake as these layers were pushed upward. Over time, wind and water have eroded the surface of these sedimentary layers to reveal the beautiful surfaces we see today.

0.0 Miles- The trail for Red Cliffs Nature Trail starts on the north side of the parking lot where you see a “Red Cliffs Nature Trail” sign. The views of the sedimentary red rocks start right away. You can get off trail to explore the red rock walls up close and personal before or after this hike. Follow the rock lined trail to the hills ahead.

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Trailhead
Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Early Views

0.2 Miles- As the trail begins to climb the hill ahead, you’ll see a junction marked by a small stone pile. Take a right at the junction, unless you want to make a much longer loop hike of the area.

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Heading Up
Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Trail Junction. Turn Right.

After taking a right at the junction, you’ll walk along the spine of a hill. You’ll have views in all directions from here.

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
On the ledge

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park

0.6 Miles- You’ll reach another junction marked by a trail sign. Take a right turn at the junction to return to the parking area.

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Red Rock Views
Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Trail Junction. Turn right.

The final stretch of hiking towards the parking area offers a beautiful view of the Red Rock Canyon walls. From here, you can see each layer of sedimentary rock.

Hiking The Red Cliffs Nature Trail - Red Rock Canyon State Park
Back to the parking lot.

 

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