Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||0.9 miles (1.4 km)|
|Hike Time||30 Minutes (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||120 feet (37m)|
|Highest Elevation||2,489 feet (759m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||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.
Better Than a Selfie Stick
Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.
Latest Price – Amazon
Your Biggest Asset If You Get Lost
If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Now smartphones have lights, but they drain the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in an expensive yet high-quality headlamp like the Black Diamond Astro 250. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.
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REI Membership Saves You Money Forever
Have you shopped at REI before? They have all kinds of active clothes and gear, from fitness, to hiking, to snow sports, to casual wear. It’s an overall great place to shop (here’s why) and they offer a $20 membership that gets you 10% back on everything for life, along with frequent coupons, discounts, and member-only sales. It’s a no-brainer.
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Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2021.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
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
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
Red Cliffs Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Hike Directions
This guide last updated on May 3, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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