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This Utah reserve is for tortoises and hiking

Published March 29, 2012 1:25 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

St. George — The national and state parks near here are the big attractions, but if you find yourself in St. George wanting a hike, the locals have a secret. The 62,000-acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve offers a trail system that lets you feel as though you have walked into the desert when you really haven't left St. George. The Reserve is managed jointly by federal, state and local agencies to provide habitat for the threatened desert tortoise and some recreational for the humans. Trails are open to hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. I've hiked three of them. None have been challenging, but they have been sufficiently scenic and long. I felt I got away for a while. The people I've encountered on the trails all appear to be local. A trail I hiked last week, Halfway Wash, even has one trail head in a subdivision on St. George's northwest side. In terms of views and wonder, the Reserve doesn't' compete with the nearby national and state parks, but the Reserve doesn't charge fees. So if you're in St. George, don't be afraid to take a couple hours and hike like a local. — Nate CarlisleTwitter: @UtahHikes