Before I started looking for it, I didn’t even know Owen’s Loop existed! This is one of those hikes that just wasn’t on my radar. I discovered its existence in a booklet written by a St George native that had done a lot of hiking in the area and wanted to document some of it. I grew up playing on the Sugar Loaf area of the ‘Red Hill’, but didn’t know there were trails on the other side of the highway that would provide such amazing views and solitude 500 ft above the valley floor.
Since they reorganized the roadway on Red Hills Parkway it is easier to get to Owen’s Loop from Brooks Nature Trail. It is a nice place to start anyway, because you can park your vehicle at a secluded park and feel like it will be safe. I don’t typically like to hike alone, and I don’t recommend it to anyone else, but I felt pretty safe doing it on this hike because I knew that I was close enough to civilization that my phone service wouldn’t be an issue, and if I had to crawl somewhere it wouldn’t be too far. So, I exited the truck and headed up the trail, past the pond where the ducks quacked a good morning to me, and past the amphitheater where scouts like to do Courts of Honor or Pack Meetings, and into the wild. This trail features many of the native plants, but also some transplants, and offers some beautiful contrasts in foliage. Once I got up the canyon and crested onto the hill I met up with the Owen’s Loop trail and was back into the normal Southern Utah flora.
I passed quickly along on this single track trail enjoying the blooming wild flowers and cacti. The trail was well packed and provided easy hiking. What I found interesting on this hike was how quickly I felt like I was away from the bustling world, but all I had to do was look around me and I could see civilization surrounding me. It was quiet on that Saturday morning and it provided a serene and peaceful trip for me. I took a look over the edge at the first look out before heading up the trail on the one section that takes you away from the cliff’s edge. As I passed up through the cut in the rock I was a little surprised to see several natural arches and a natural rock over-hang that had rocks piled around the opening as if to close it off from the elements. I have seen this before in Anasazi Indian ruins, but I’m not sure if this is authentic, or just rocks that have been stacked by passers by throughout the years. Either way, it was kind of fun to see.
There were a couple of places where the trail became a little unclear, but after looking out for the cairns I was able to get back on course. The trail zipped around and moved me back closer to the edge of the cliff again. It was fun to be back to see where I was in relation to the city below me. I was surprised at how quickly I was moving along. There was plenty to look at and admire in the way of rock formations and plants, so it is no wonder the trail was passing so quickly by. As I approached the west rim of the hill I was presented with a delightfully clear view of Red Mountain and Santa Clara and Ivins. I could also see the contrasting red and white Navajo Sandstone of Snow Canyon and the monolithic blue mountain Pinevalley. As I continued around the loop I was looking over onto Red Hills Golf Course. So many contrasts, so many colors! Who knew there was so much waiting for me on this short little trail?
As I looped back around and headed for the truck I couldn’t help but feel feelings of gratitude for such a beautiful place to live, and great little escapes 500 ft above the city where I could feel away from it all and yet be surrounded by it all! Now you go out and enjoy it and leave your comments below!
Until next time…Remember, your next adventure is just out your door!