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Don’t let the name fool you. You could not find a less fitting moniker for this red rock that bakes in the summer but comes alive in the spring and fall. In the corner of the Utah desert, it rarely sees snow. Named not for the weather but for a pioneer family. Beyond its name there are other unexpected things about this oasis.
Filled with trails for hiking, biking, and horse riding; a person can spend a few days getting lost in its wondrous beauty. One fun thing that sets this apart from other parks are two things—the sand dues and the lava tubes.
When you hit the first lava tube, you’re going to think, no biggie, when you climb down. Keep going. A small tunnel leads into a larger cave and then an even larger cave. A lot of people see the first cavern and don’t bother to go to the other side.
Keep climbing down; it’s well worth the effort.
There are several other scenic trails to keep you happy if the above-ground is more to your suiting. Hiking at sunrise or sunset is photographer’s dream. Arches, ponds, and a little slot keep you going all day and then some.
If you’re looking for an above-ground hike with a small cave, take the Johnson Canyon loop to Scout Cave. This is a hike to avoid in the summer as the canyon is closed due to turtle habitation. Waiting isn’t a huge loss due to the oven-baking temps of the summer. Go in the fall and enjoy the turning colors of Johnson Canyon with a backdrop of a red rock arch (top photo, right). Past the canyon, continue onward to Scout’s Cave, which offers unparalleled views of the valley.
For a an outdoor adventure without ever having to get outside, check out the Lost Gorge Mystery series!
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