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North Rim, Yant Flat and Red Cliffs NCA
I spent Memorial Day weekend with my son in St. George Utah; stayed at a KOA which was convenient but had a lot of highway noise all night. We visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, since he'd never seen the canyon, and the north rim was less than three hours away. Pictures of the canyon are numerous and most everyone is familiar with it, so I'll just share these three. Oh, and before anyone asks, I did not hike to the canyon floor, just as far as the tunnel on the  North Kaibab Trail. About one hour down and two to get back up. I did get to talk to numerous folks who were coming from the south rim, both backpackers and single day shuttle trippers.

One of our first views from the North Rim

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Beautiful striped wall on the North Kaibab Trail

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Angel's Window
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Our second day was spent locally; my thanks to Mojave Geek for the suggestion to visit Yant Flat.  I drove out a few days earlier to find the trailhead and met a gentleman walking his dog who told me that a couple of years ago, no one had heard of it (the KOA folks didn't know where it was) but lately, almost every walk someone would stop and ask him about it. It's not marked, and I managed to miss it, driving all the way through to St George. Sheesh. 

If you ever go, here's what works: From the city of Leeds take Silver Reef Road west under the interstate; go straight as it changes names to North Oak Grove, which ends in a T-intersection. At the T, go right on FR 032. Don't take the right fork to Oak Grove campground, but do reset your odometer. At seven miles, the trailhead parking lot will be on the left. On the way, you will pass through a shaded ranch area and past a gorgeous deep canyon.

The hike, about a mile or so, was mostly on soft red sand, with lots of blooming cacti and yucca.  One spot we had to walk around had a large patch of holes for noisy buzzing insects.

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We walked out of the plants onto the smooth surface of red and white piles and layers of rock. It looked like a collaboration between Mother Nature and Dr Seuss. Even though it was Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend, there were very few people around. My son climbed up high rocky outcrops as he is wont to do.

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Finally we decided to get to the bacon blob, the most picturesque feature in the area. It was not as accessible as this view makes it look; there was a significant elevation change event to get across first.

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My son figuring out how we're going to get down and over.

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This is the great crossbedding face we ended up descending. My son strode down with ease; I had to work my confidence up from a crab walk to standing upright, but I did get there.

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And here he is checking out the view from the top.

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It was a great day and we had a splendid time. Thanks again Mojave Geek!

Our last day we went right across the interstate to the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, a very nice place with a campground, a shaded picnic area, several trails, and an actual dinosaur tracks exhibit. (They're either dino tracks or an enormous chicken from long ago!)

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We headed out on the Red Reef trail, with very few other hikers about 8 am; there were lots more on our way back. It was shaded and pleasant, had an overhang to visit, and some petroglyphs. Eventually the trail arrives at something of a challenge: getting up and around a rock wall with a deep pool at its base. Footholds have been carved in the wall, and there's a knotted rope to hold onto, but I couldn't see what was around the turn. Then a family came down the canyon and we watched them swing around and come down, so it was doable.

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Beyond this spot, the canyon split in a fork; we explored both ways, with my son going up and further than I did. He reported having a great time exploring the upper areas. Nothing extreme, but a pleasant diversion if you have some time to spend in this area.

Going up the right-hand fork:

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Bit of a food report: Sunday evening at the KOA, a couple of fundamentalist Mormon women stopped by with homemade yogurt, eggs, breads, and individual cream and berry pies that were so delicious. We had dinner one evening at the Black Bear Diner - also good, and very big portions. I took half of mine back and warmed it up a day later. Another fun Memorial Day weekend in Utah (it's too hot for Death Valley).

A last look at the Red Cliffs at dawn before I drove out on my way to Arches.

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Sounds like you had a fun time! And I'm really glad you enjoyed Yant Flat (sometimes called Candy Cliffs). I'm so sorry you missed the parking are for the trail on the first time though. I guess it still isn't marked. The first time I went I had scoped it out with respect to one of the small forest service side roads and there were other cars there both times I've been so easy to find. Sorry I did not provide the details. But glad you had fun wandering around the Bacon Blobs!

It is interesting as it has become a relatively heavily used area, but yes, you have to figure out how to get down that "cauliflower surface" slickrock first. It takes a bit of time to get used to the slickrock. It's pretty high friction / grippy but feels airy sometimes. On my trip out in East Zion in March I was traversing some smoother slickrock that was getting steeper than I wanted so I thought I would crab walk down it. Mistake, because the butt of my pants has less friction than my boot soles so I slid down about 15 feet and jammed my right leg. Took a few months of pain and not healing before I got the cortisone shot which makes the knee happy again.

I had been told the road through to St. George was really bad, and you should always go from the Leeds side. I walked the lower few miles of that road doing a loop hike in Red Cliffs and it seemed fine. If you were going back that way, would you go up from the St. George side, or via Leeds again.

North Rim. Never disappoints!

Glad you had a good time!!!

Oh, and thanks for the note on the Red Reef trail. I'd read about that difficult spot and it had kept me out of there once. I guess I should have gone for it!
I would definitely approach Yant Flat from the Leeds side and not from St George. The road onward to St George seemed longer, a bit more primitive, and had several sandy low spots that I worried I might get stuck in. I kept going through them, relying on the plywood boards in the van in case I got in trouble. 

Part of what confused me was driving past the tree-shaded area that looked like a farm. For some reason, this made me think I had already missed the parking lot for Yant and was on my way back to civilization. Was I ever off. Looking back, I realized there was one vehicle at the trailhead, and since that was the only parked vehicle on the road, it should have alerted me. By the time that thought surfaced, I was way further down the road. Don't feel bad about it - I frequently miss things the first time, but then there's often other interesting experiences when that happens.

The Red Reef tough spot was amusing. I was standing there dithering and thinking about going back, and then that family, with middle-sized kids, came sauntering back from the canyon beyond. Made my fears look a little silly. It isn't easy by any means, and it helped to have my son go first to guide me around, but it is doable.

Your experience at East Zion - ouch! Hope you're all better.

I'm keeping your other recommendations for future visits - Thank you!
I'm better, thanks, but it took a cortisone shot in the end. Not that I stopped hiking on that trip, not me, after a non life threatening injury on day 3 or so of a 3 1/2 week trip? No way Smile Though I did find myself driving to trailheads with a bag of ice strapped to my leg, and the ace bandage I keep in my emergency bag turned out to be real useful. My companions on the DV part of the trip did not mind that I cracked the whip for long hiking day mileage somewhat less than usual either.

That ranch, it's either Swedish Ranch or Danish Ranch, is very nice up there!
(2022-06-23, 12:25 PM)Bluegreen kayak Wrote: They're either dino tracks or an enormous chicken from long ago!)

Well birds are dinosaurs so I dont think its an either/or thing.

I love Utah.

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