Santa Clara River Walkway - Pine Valley
Difficulty Level: Easy
Distance: 4.2 miles round trip
Located within the Pine Valley Recreation Area, the Santa Clara River Walkway winds through the forest as it follows the Santa Clara river. The official trailhead is found about a mile from the entrance station and has a sign that is visible from the road. Parking, restrooms, and other amenities are found at the trailhead. The Santa Clara River Walkway is a paved trail and is well marked. After crossing a bridge about 250 feet from the trailhead, the path splits with the option to go right or to go left. Both directions are a part of the trail and are included in the round trip distance of 4.2 mile. The option to go right is about 2.5 miles (round trip) and leads towards the Pine Valley Reservoir. After passing the reservoir, the path continues to follow the river until connecting with the main road near the entrance station. Though the trail is marked with signs, a junction involving a path for the Amphitheater and a path for the Yellow Pine Loop can be confusing. Keep right or continue along the path that follows the river and is parallel to the main road. The option to go left is about 1.6 miles (round trip) and connects to the trailhead for the Pine Valley Canal Trail. This option features a an open field that holds a great view of the mountains. Both the Mitt Moody Campground and the Ebenezer Bryce Campground are a part of this left option. Ultimately, the walkway moves through the pine tree forest while occasionally crossing a bridge over the Santa Clara river. Deer, chipmunks, squirrels, fish, and a variety of birds are often spotted along the trail.
Overall, the Santa Clara River Walkway is a great trail for families and all types of hikers. Because it is completely paved and almost entirely flat, the trail is friendly for strollers and wheelchairs. A few interactive signs are found throughout the path which provide information on the area and invite hikers to spot attributes in nature. Children often enjoy crossing the bridges, smelling the pine trees to see if they smell of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, and learning about the wildlife that are home to this area. The walkway is also great for birdwatching, and birdhouses are often found on trees just off the trail. Following trail guidelines, the walkway is dog friendly and a great place to walk a dog. Since the Pine Valley Recreation Area is also a great place for camping, the walkway passes areas with campers, RVs, and tents. Visitors are asked to stay on the paved trail as well as respect others enjoying the area.
ROUND TRIP LENGTH
4.2 miles round trip
AVERAGE HIKE TIME
Trailhead: 37°22’37.9″N 113°28’01.5″W
Dixie National Forest
DISTANCE FROM ST GEORGE
37.7 miles (50 mins driving)
Vault Toilets at Trailhead
Out & Back
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO HIKE
Great Year Round
BEST TIME OF THE DAY TO HIKE
No Permit Required
$6.00 day fee to enter Pine Valley Recreation Area.
WATER SOURCES AVAILABLE
Water Available at Trailhead, Stream/River Along Trail (Purify & Filter Before Drinking)
Camping Available only in Designated Camping Area
Partial Sun Exposure
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD
Directions to trailhead: Follow S 700 E and turn right onto Bluff St towards Pine Valley.
FLORA AND FAUNA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Spencer McMullin is originally from Connecticut but has deep ties to the Southern Utah area. His passion for adventure and photography has lead him to HikeStGeorge.
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