Hiking the Cliffs of Velvet Ridge

February 13th, 2013

Outdoor adventures, Travel

The dramatic cliffs of Velvet Ridge frame the Lodge Red River Ranch. These cliffs extend for miles in both directions from the Lodge. As the sunlight moves across the face of Velvet Ridge, shadows appear and retreat, creating an ever-changing landscape. And while the sight is impressive from the ground, we think it looks better from up top.

The Velvet Ridge trailhead is in Torrey, five minutes east of the Lodge on Highway 24. Before you enter the town, turn left at Sand Creek Road. Travel about one mile until you come to an unpaved parking area where you will see the Great Western Trail Information Board.

The trail is a 14-mile loop, unpaved, and classified as moderate. You can hike it or ride it on mountain bike or motorcycle. (Do to its length, we recommend riding.) Plan on taking several hours to complete the loop, depending upon your pace.

The loop begins with a short incline – considered to be the hardest part of the trail. After that, you can enjoy a leisurely hike or ride up and down the hills. The elevation at the summit is 7,350 feet. From here, you’ll have excellent views of the Fremont River below. As you continue on, you’ll even be able to look down on the Lodge at Red River Ranch.

The best time to plan your visit to the ridge is during late spring or summer to avoid snow. If you’re considering a Southern Utah vacation this season, Velvet Ridge offers a great day activity.

Many people choose to explore the Velvet Ridge Trail after spending a couple of days in nearby Capitol Reef National Park. The park has its own impressive collection of hikes. There are incredible trails all throughout this region, and we recommend all of them. Southern Utah really is the perfect place for an outdoor vacation.

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