Tom’s Experience on the Chuckwalla Trail:
The Chuckwalla trail is named after the desert lizard that is native to the area. It’s also a well known trail for people looking to see a desert tortoise that is also a native of the area. This is probably the most frequented trailhead in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The parking lot is dirt but it’s flat and easy to drive on unless muddy. There are plenty of parking spots as well as bathrooms at the trailhead. The trail heads northeast out of the parking lot through a gate in the fence.
After you start out, almost immediately on your right you will see the Chuckwalla climbing wall, a popular rock climbing wall. It has a wide variety of rock climbs from easy to difficult. I have seen many people often teaching others how to rappel off this wall. This is usually the most crowded spot on the whole trail.
As you continue on the trail will fork after about a half mile. The left trail heads towards Paradise Point and is marked the Turtle Wall Trail. The trail to the right leads toward Beck Hill. We took the trail to the right and it ends up making a loop returning back to this fork. On our way toward Beck Hill we passed the Turtle Wall climbing area which has much more difficult climbs than at the Chuckwalla Wall.
The trail climbs Beck Hill amid the red sandstone rocks as well as black lava rocks and eventually leads to Paradise Point. Paradise Point is a fun lookout over much of the new developments near the bottom of Snow Canyon. There are a few steep drop offs but it really makes for a fun area to sit and take a break.
From Paradise Point, there is a trail that follows along the ridge called the Paradise Rim trail that eventually connects to the Chuckwalla Trail or to a new trail called the Gecko Trail. We decided to return back to Chuckwalla from here. The return from Paradise Point back to the Chuckwalla Trail is probably the coolest part of the trail. Most of the trail is along slick rock that passes along steep red rock faces. There is a natural arch you pass as you are nearly back to the Chuckwalla Trail. Once you reach the original fork, it is only about a half mile back to the parking lot.
In the summer, this trail can be very hot, there isn’t a ton of vegetation and shade can be hard to find. There is also no water on the trail so be sure to bring plenty of your own. The trail is mainly hard packed dirt with a few spots of slick rock and sandy areas. Horses and dogs are allowed on this trail and it is pretty popular for mountain bikes and cross country running as well.
Trail Info: From Bluff St. in St. George, Utah, head north until it turns into Highway 18. The trailhead is just after the traffic light and on the left about 400 yards after the light. You come up a hill right before the turnoff so it is a little difficult to see until you are almost there.
Chuckwalla Trailhead = 37.138259,-113.604669
Paradise Point = 37.153506,-113.623073
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