October 3, 2017

Red Canyon

Last week, we went on an endurance ride starting in Red Canyon, Utah, west of Panguitch on Highway 12, and just a few miles east of Bryce Canyon National Park.  Both Bryce and Red Canyon are on the Paunsaungunt ("Home of the Beaver" in Paiute) Plateau.  Both Bryce and Red Canyons feature the orange-red limestone of the Claron formation and its fascinating spires, columns, and hoodoos.
The evening we arrived, it rained almost all night long.  We thought for sure the next day would be cold and damp with slick trails.
As it turned out, the rain stopped before morning, leaving a mist that hung over the  cliffs.  The riding conditions were fine.
Here we are, trotting through Casto Canyon, about midway through our first day.
Our second day was sunny, and the main feature of the ride was the spectacular Thunder Mountain Trail.  The trail is narrow and winding in places, and we shared it with a few mountain bikers.  Fortunately, our horses have seen a lot of bikes, so that wasn't a problem.

All along the way, we went around and through the orange-red hoodoos.
Limber Pine and Ponderosa Pine grow throughout the area.
Bristlecone Pine grow above 8000 feet in dolomite soil, usually on windy ridges. These slow-growing trees are poor competitors and tend to survive best in difficult conditions where other trees don't do well.  The needles can last up to 30 years before they are shed.
At the trail's high points, the views were spectacular.  
Above, you can see about 20 miles to the long ridge of the Aquarius Plateau, the top of the Colorado Grand Staircase of southern Utah.  Powell Point is at the end of the ridge to the right. A tall, scraggly Bristlecone Pine frames the photo on the left.
The vast expanse of open territory shows how much there is to explore.  I don't think we'll run out of trails any time soon.  


  1. I really like this beautiful area of your state. We were also there a couple of weeks ago, but we were in our trusty Prius instead of horseback.

    1. I saw a lot of your gorgeous photos on Facebook. Ha, riding in a Prius would be a little easier on the backside!

  2. WOW---the pictures are gorgeous... We were SO CLOSE and yet SO FAR from you... We enjoy Highway 12 ---from Bryce to Torrey...... GREAT drive and lots of photo opportunities.... Ah Heck--we had tons of photo opportunities everywhere we went... Have you ever ridden in the Cedar Breaks area? Elevation is quite high there.. We love it.


    1. Highway 12 is beautiful all the way. I saw many of your Facebook posts on the trip. Seems like you saw a lot in a short while.
      We haven't ridden in Cedar Breaks, but maybe we should put it on the list.

  3. The colours are stunning! The picture of you two on the horses is priceless!

  4. Looks like another great ride Janie. Great to see you on those beautiful horses again. I love the scenery.

  5. Beautiful scenery and sky! I love the hoodoos and pines. :)

  6. And the trails go on forever... That beautiful red rock hoodoo country is so unique. I loved your photos. Good that your horses are calm with things like mountain bikes. Thanks for taking me along on the ride!

  7. Wow! Those red views are truly stunning. In my next life I'm taking up trail riding in the Wild West...:)

  8. Hi Janie
    ou live ina beautiful place that I'd like to know someday... I love the landscapes, especially the red land with the pines!
    Have a nice week!!!




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