Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP
|In This Guide|
|Distance||0.9 miles (1.4 km)|
|Time||30 Minutes (Total Time)|
|Total Climbing||120 feet (37m)|
|Highest Elevation||2,489 feet (759m)|
|Park Name||Red Rock Canyon State Park|
The Red Cliffs Trail is an easy 1 mile loop hike in a unique Mojave Desert landscape. You’ll pass the namesake Red Cliffs, rock formations of eroded sandstone, mudstone, and volcanic rock, thrusted up above the desert floor by faulting. It’s also been the backdrop of many movies and television shows. The Red Cliffs Trail is a great place to stretch your legs if you’re traveling between LA and the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.
Getting to the Red Cliffs Trail
The trailhead address is: Red Cliffs Natural Area, Cantil, CA, 93519, USA. It’s a great option for a roadside rest stop and hike.
There are free bathrooms here, and there’s primitive camping across the street by the Hagen Canyon hike.
Gear for the Red Cliffs Trail Hike
This is a short hike and you don’t need any special hiking gear. In the summer it can get really hot. You’re basically on the border of the Mojave Desert, the Eastern Sierra Nevada, and the western El Paso range. Bring water, even though it’s a short hike.
- Trail runners or sneakers
- A camera
My Top Gear Picks
Do you have the right hiking gear? Will it stand up to the test? I waste lots of money testing hiking gear every year so that you don’t have to. My gear picks are solid choices that will serve you well on the trail. I don’t do sponsored or paid reviews, I just the share actual gear that I use all the time that’s made the cut. Here are my top picks:
- Garmin InReach Mini Emergency Beacon – Hiking out of cell phone range? Make sure you have one of these two-way satellite texting devices in case your hike doesn’t go as planned. You can read my full review here.
- Injinji Sock Liners With Darn Tough Hiking Socks – This combo is a great way to avoid blisters out on the trail. I have some insider-hiking tips for avoiding blisters here. Pair them with modern, high-tech hiking boots (for women and men) and your feet with thank you.
- Garmin Fenix 5x Plus – It’s a little pricey, but man do I love this thing. Not only does it have all the topo maps and navigation tools on my wrist, but it also acts as a long battery life, rugged, outdoors version of an Apple Watch. Track your workouts, sleep, heart rate, all that stuff.
I have lots of other great, sponsor-free, trail tested gear picks on my “best gear” page.
See My Full Gear List
What To Know About the Hike
- This area was originally part of a Kawaiisu trade route, used for thousands of years.
- A ton of movies and television shows have been shot here in Red Rock Canyon State Park, including a lot of old westerns and more recently Westworld and Jurassic Park.
- Keep your eyes out for wildlife. I always manage to see lots of desert hares, roadrunners, and big lizards. The rangers told me that desert tortoise are also around, but harder to spot.
Red Cliffs Trail Maps
I highly recommend bringing a good paper map with you, and then using it in conjunction with a GPS device. You can see the navigation gear that I use here (I’m currently using the Fenix 5x Plus and love it). Just download the GPX file below and load it onto your GPS.
Many people also print out this web page for the turn-by-turn images. And if you really want to get tricky, YouTube Premium lets you download videos for offline use, so you can download the hike video and save it.
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Red Cliffs Hike Directions
Subscribe to HikingGuy on YouTube
Turn by Turn Hike Directions
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