The Red Reef trail begins at the Red Cliffs campground in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The easy trail initially follows the Quail Creek drainage out of the campground, shortly entering a red slickrock canyon with numerous swimming holes. This area sees heavy use by families during nice weather, but especially in spring when there is reliable flow in the creek. Continuing up stream, the best course is generally to stay in the water through the long slot (this is also the most scenic part of the hike). You can go up and around if you really hate getting wet, but routes back down into the canyon are sketchy at best. A few spots are over waist-deep, but most are only knee-deep or less. About 1.5 miles from the trailhead, the route diverts to the south (left) up an unnamed side canyon at a spot only occasionally marked by a user-created cairn - having a route loaded in your GPS may be helpful at this point.
Follow this side canyon up several dry falls and chimneys, including one with a permanent rope (not maintained - use at your own risk). This canyon leads to an area of more open slickrock. There may be some footrints and/or cairns, but if not, generally head south following the overall slope of the landscape, which will lead you to the main wash draining this area. This becomes somewhat of a slot canyon with a few minor dry falls to climb down or around - nice slickrock area. After winding through the canyon in red sand, the route meets up with the Cottonwood Wash/Trail. You can continue on the Cottonwood Wash in either direction, but this is the end of the Red Reef Trail.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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