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Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

Black Gulch Trail

Recommended Users: Hikers
 
Type: Route
 
Length: 1.7 miles
 
Difficulty:  Strenuous
 
 
Sub-Area: Winchester Hills
 
Zone: Lowland
 
Managing Agency: BLM
 
Access: Yellow Knolls Trailhead—From I-15 Exit 8, turn west on St. George Blvd. Turn at the first right on 1000 East. Turn left on Twin Lakes Drive. Travel north for 5.6 miles as Twin Lakes Drive turns into Cottonwood Road and the pavement changes to gravel. Turn right into the trailhead. Note that the upper section of Cottonwood Road is rugged and may not be suitable for small passenger cars.
 
Description: To reach Black Gulch Trail, start at the Winchester Trailhead. Look for its stepover across the road a just a bit south of the trailhead. Follow Winchester Trail for 0.6 miles until reaching the intersection with Black Gulch Trail. Turn right into the gulch and hike north for 1.7 miles until reaching the intersection with Lange’s Dugway Trail. Turn around and hike back or if you’ve had enough of the gulch, follow the loop instructions below.

Make no mistake Black Gulch Trail is a route. It is a desert wash composed of sand, gravel, rock, and boulders, making travel either up or down its length slow. All the better to enjoy the colorful mix of rocks at your feet: black basalt, red and yellow sandstone, grey granite, and mixed conglomerates. Black Gulch is also deep with towering basalt walls on both sides. Be prepared for slightly cooler temperatures in winter and early spring because of the shade cast by the walls. Near its northern end, a few shallow slick rock potholes hold water through the winter (however, they are not an obstacle to travel). 

Loop: For a 5 mile loop start at the nearby Winchester Trail and travel west for 0.6 miles until reaching the intersection with the Black Gulch Trail. Turn right and follow the gulch north for 1.7 miles until reaching its intersection with Lange’s Dugway Trail. Turn right and in 0.2 miles you will return to the Cottonwood Road. Hike over to the Black Gulch Trailhead across the road and take High Point Trail heading east. In 0.6 miles, turn right at the intersection with Yellow Knolls Trail. Hike south 1.9 miles back to the Yellow Knolls Trailhead.
 

 

Area Trail Map

 

View from the Black Gulch Trail

 

Hiker climbing over boulders on the Black Gulch Trail