Trail: Owen’s Loop
Location: Directly above St. George near Pioneer Park (see “Access” below)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Distance: 3.25 to 3.5 miles (depending on trailhead)
Average time: 2 hours
Total elevation gain: approximately 300 feet
Kidfamily friendly: Yes, with caution at points
With clifftop views of St. George, easy and fun rock scrambling, and a moderate grade, the Owen’s Loop Trail is a fantastic semi-urban adventure that rewards the hiker with outstanding vistas without being overly difficult. This is a popular trail with families, runners, and mountain bikers, so solitude should not be expected. It is an excellent option when the neighboring Pioneer Park is filled to capacity.
The second option is to park at Brooks Nature Park at the far northern end of Main Street in St. George. Find the path behind the pond and head uphill for a quarter mile where it meets the Owen’s Loop Trail at the same stepover mentioned above. The trail can also be reached via the City Creek connector trail accessed from the Pioneer Hills trailhead and then followed south for a little over a half mile to its junction with Owen’s Loop.
The trail itself quickly leads to scenic viewpoints overlooking the city but then winds in and out of beautiful sandstone crags before returning to the dramatic views. Occasional views north to the Pioneer Hills, T-Bone Butte, and the Pine Valley Mountains beyond can be seen. Yet it is the views of the city to the south that make this hike so spectacular.
This hike makes an excellent option for families with children, but there are sections where sheer drop-offs are encountered and the utmost caution must be used with little hikers. However, the trail doesn’t gain a large amount of elevation, the views of the city are superb, and the scrambling enjoyable. And despite being so close to the urban edge of the city, there are still ample opportunities for wildlife viewing, with lizards, snakes, rabbits, and birds all commonly seen.
At around 0.75 miles, the Owen’s Loop Trail intersects with the City Creek Connector Trail. Stay left at this junction and continue traversing along the ridgetop, enjoying the views of the city and the houses almost directly below the trail.
After another 0.75 miles, the trail will reach the small loop at the end of the red rock mesa. Take the right hand branch and hike for a quarter mile around the end of cliffs, with views of the Dixie Red Hills Golf Course looking like a verdant oasis set among the red rocks below and the Santa Clara area just beyond. The trail loops back around (with the Bluff Street Cracks climbing area on the cliffs below) to connect with the main trail. When you’re ready to return, hike the trail in the opposite direction back to the trailhead.