Red Cliffs Desert Reserve


The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is a 20 mile wide 6 mile deep wilderness area that was set aside in 1996 for the protection of the Mojave Desert Tortoise and other rare plants and wildlife.  It is a scenic desert landscape with a variety of recreational activities including hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, and rock climbing.  In addition to the beautiful scenery the area is full of wildlife and it is not uncommon to see frogs, toads, lizards, roadrunners, quail and occasionally Desert Tortoise and rattlesnakes.

Our young kids especially love the Red Cliffs picnic/camping area.  Although it can get crowded on afternoons, weekends and especially holidays, if you avoid these high traffic times you  will often find you have the place to yourself.  Occassionally we try to sneak away during the week or early weekend mornings.  Our kids love playing in the small stream (small unless there are flash floods) shaded in cottonwoods, where it remains surprisingly cool even in the heat of summer.  Also, they love climbing the red cliffs themselves.  They are similar to Pioneer Park overlooking St. George, offering a wide range of hiking areas and skill levels from very young to advanced.  So it is a very easy and accessible place for all ages.  In addition there are several very cool sites such as the upper water pools and the dinosaur tracks.  Add in some red spotted toads, crawfish and a few lizards and bugs and my boys are in heaven.  We prefer late spring and early summer when my boys love to see the tadpoles and new baby frogs and toads but we live close and so we make a quick stop (1-2 hours) fairly often.  The cost to enter the picnic area is $5 per vehicle.

For adults and older kids there are many other very cool sites within the reserve.  You can check out their website, here for some ideas.  Babylon is another of our favorites and as our kids grow we will definitely be enjoying some of the longer hiking trails throughout this beautiful area.

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve OutreachIn addition the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Outreach Program is designed to educate local community members about The Reserve, its vital resources, wildlife and even recreational opportunities.   How would you like a representative to visit your classroom or user group?  They will pack up and travel to you with tailored presentations to virtually any group, including fitness resorts and spas, HOA’s, local scout groups, classrooms of all ages, and much more.  They have three local animal species they use for educational purposes, Tank and Tater Tot the Mojave Desert Tortoises, Hercules the Gila Monster and Sierra the Sonoran Mountain King Snake.  My young boys (3 and 1 1/2) loved this presentation when it was given at our local library over the summer.  If you’d like to arrange a visit you can contact the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Outreach Coordinator at (435) 256-6312.

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