Can’t Get Enough Red Cliffs

After our river canyon hiking adventure the day before, which I covered in River Hiking – Waders Recommended, my friend Jeremy and I were ready to photograph – you guessed it – more canyons!

Near the town of Harrisburg, Utah, at the Red Cliffs Campground, is a trailhead for the Red Cliffs Trail that leads the hiker past a whole bunch of (no surprise here) red cliffs. What’s interesting about this particular trail is that it leads to several pools carved into the sandstone that are actually deep enough to dive into. Sure enough, as we approached the trailhead we were met by a group of teenagers heading down the trail to do just that. They ran on ahead, but when we caught up with them, they were diving off of a cliff that was high enough to make me a bit nervous. We both composed a few shots in this area and then kept moving down the trail.

Jeremy Waits for the Shot, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

Jeremy waits for a family to move on so he can get the shot, in Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah.

This trail seems to be very popular with the locals, and on hot days like this one, the allure of cool water to dive into is hard to resist. Of course we were there to photograph nature, so we frequently found ourselves waiting for locals to pass through our compositions. Looking back now on other people’s photographs from the area, I realize that one of the pools we were photographing was also deep enough to dive into, so we may have accidentally discouraged some divers that we thought were just hikers. Oh well, you can’t know everything, try as we might.

Red Cliffs Local, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

A frog hops by in Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah.

Jeremy and I, as usual, often had to wait for one another to move out of the prime spots, but we weren’t in any hurry. We gradually moved down the canyon past the location where most people stop, and eventually got into a section that required a bit of scrambling to get around. All along we had been hearing strange noises that we just couldn’t pinpoint, usually coming from high up on the cliffs. “Was that a bird? It sounds like a bird, but I don’t see anything up there.” The further we went into the canyon, the more of these creatures we heard, until we were completely surrounded by them. We finally discovered the source: frogs! There were what appeared to be thousands of them, tiny little critters clinging to the sides of the cliffs. As we approached, they would jump into the water below, which is how we were able to spot them.

We scrambled around on top of the cliffs a bit, looking for a rare lizard that Jeremy was determined to find, but never did. Eventually we headed back to our motel in Hurricane and started debating the evening’s choice of dinner locations. This would be our last night in town before heading north the next day, so we wanted to be sure not to miss any culinary highlights!

Sandstone Reflections, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Sandstone cliffs are reflected in a canyon pool, in Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah.

Sandstone Cliffs, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah

Deeply colored sandstone cliffs dominate the landscape, in Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah.

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