There’s a lot to see and do at the Red Cliff Recreation Area

It’s no secret that there is an amazing National Park in southern Utah. However, it’s not the only awesome place to experience down here, and Red Cliff Recreation Area is one you probably haven’t heard of. It’s a hidden gem that has all the charms of Zion in a smaller package.

A cactus in Red Cliff Recreation Area

Desert Potholes and Waterfalls

In spring time and right after rainfall, this recreation area is blessed with some beautiful waterfalls that gush over its dry red rock canyons. Since it’s pretty tough to plan a trip around rain, and also makes for less enjoyable camping, I would suggest planning a spring trip, especially if you want to see the falls running. Even when the falls aren’t going, there are large potholes in the canyon that stay full of water year round, making for great pictures.

waterfall in red cliff recreation area

man climbing stone cut steps


It’s super easy to miss, but as the canyon starts to tighten up and turn to the left, you can cross the dry stream bed where a large alcove is cut out of the cliff face and marked with some plastic posts. In this shallow cave, you can look up and find some ancient Native American drawings! It took me three trips out here before I stumbled onto these, but it was worth it.

Petroglyphs in Red Cliff Recreation Area

water collected in a slot canyon

Slot Canyons

Nothing says desert adventure like slot canyons! They are hands down my favorite thing about hiking in southern Utah. Making your way between towering cliffs, sometimes only an arms width apart, you feel like you’re on another planet.


Campsites in Red Cliff Recreation Area

These campsites are the icing on the cake. If you’ve ever tried to get a campsite in Zion, you know how hard it can be to score one without doing so almost a year in advance. Many of the popular national parks are this way now. Red Cliff Recreation area is only 45 minutes away from Zion, but it’s campsites are really easy to get. In conclusion you are better off camping at Red Cliff if you make a trip out here without a lot of advanced planning. Yet it’s not just how easy it is to get these camp sites that makes me recommend them. You will really enjoy these sites and have all the facilities you need like tables, pavilion cover and restrooms. 


With so many people making their way to Zion each year, there are more and more reasons to get off the beaten path and see some of the local gems that people don’t hear about all over the world.

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Mike_bioWritten by: Mike Carr – Online Marketing
Mike is all things digital for the Tourism Office’s marketing. So if you have a question about the website look to him. When you don’t find him at his computer you’ll most likely find him on his bike or hiking up a trail in Zion.