Get out and hike!
Feeling any winter blues? Get out and hike!
A study at Stanford University found that those who walked in a nature setting showed decreased neural activity in the area of the brain associated with mental illness. Getting out into nature is a key piece of our educational focus at GCOA. Let's highlight some kid-friendly local hikes.
This is such a fun area, for big and little kids! Lots of cool formations of sandstone for climbing and exploring. Located just across the Hwy 89 from the Wahweap south entrance. Drive just past the campground entrance and park in the little gravel lot on the left. A marked trail starts right out of the parking lot.
Page Rim Trail
10 mile trail that loops around the Mason Mesa in Page City. Such an easy trail to hop on and off and gives great views of the city, Lake Powell, and Vermillion cliffs. Catch this trail in the evening or early morning and you might spy a bunny, jackrabbit, or even coyote in the distance!
Cottonwood Canyon Narrows
This hike is a little bit of a drive, but this fun trail with high canyon walls makes it worth it. To get there, head north of Hwy 89 and turn on Cottonwood Canyon Road. Follow for 26 miles to the south trailhead. Make sure to check weather conditions for both Cottonwood canyon road (dirt road) and the slot canyon. Parking is available at both the south and north trailhead and can be hiked either direction.
Short easy trail to some whimsical rock formations. This trail is just under 2 miles round trip and is a pretty popular hike. Well-marked parking lot is the on north side of Hwy 89, about 12 miles past Big Water. This hike is great for pointing out some fun geology facts as hikers will see a distinction of red, white, and gray rock along the way.
A family favorite, Birthday Arch trail leads you through a sandy wash to an arch in the distance. While the arch is a little tricky to spot, the trail is a hit for kiddos. The wide sandy wash is lined with fun rocks and trees to climb and explore along the way. Winter months are a great time to do this hike--especially after a rain or light snow that makes the sand easier to walk through. The sandy path also is a great spot for finding all sorts of animal tracks; it is common to see deer, coyote, bunny, cattle, and lizard tracks along the way.
Located just past Big Water on Hwy 89 mile marker 9.75. If you're heading there from Page, you'll have to do a u-turn on the 89 (just past the Big Water red rock formations) and park behind the metal guardrail on the west side of the road. Walk towards the wash and you'll find a barbed fence, enter the trail at the metal gate.
Another kid favorite. This hike follows the bank of the shallow upper Paria River and on a warm day, it is the perfect amount of water for walking, splashing, and exploring through. Come prepared to get your feet wet and muddy, and have your kids very entertained. This trail follows the river towards a box canyon. Go as far as you'd like down the river, and then head back when ready. To get there, drive north on the Hwy 89 until Cottonwood Canyon Road. Paria's Box trailhead and small gravel parking lot is about 11.3 miles down Cottonwood Canyon Road, be sure to check weather conditions as this road can be impassable when wet. You'll see a small trail leading toward the river, and then the trail becomes just the river into the box canyon. Such a fun area!
Let us know what other local hikes you and your kids love! Happy hiking!
Stanford study can be found here: https://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/