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The Utah-Arizona border shares many spectacular red rock views and high-desert adventures. Think: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, home of Coyote Buttes and the Wave. A stone’s-throw from the Arizona border, and about an hour southeast of St. George, lies the town of Hildale (an east-west road that tip-toes the border carries the name Uzona), gateway to the Canaan Mountain Wilderness Area.
Water Canyon is among the most well-known features of the nearly 45,000 acres of designated public lands wilderness, an area that shares much of the geology, ecology and wonder of Zion National Park. This moderate 1.25 mile (one-way) route takes visitors to a lush box canyon where the towering walls are covered with many hanging gardens that grow where water seeps from the canyon walls. Be sure to keep an eye out for Water Canyon Arch that lies near the top of the 1200 foot wall of the east side of the canyon.
Experienced and well-prepared hikers may continue farther. Because this is less-trafficked Bureau of Land Management terrain, visitors must take extra precautions and visit with the utmost care and sense of responsibility to personal safety and the land.
Pro Tips: Spring and fall may be the best time to avoid peak summer heat, although spring runoff from snowpack can render the trail dangerous. Carry plenty of water hiking in Utah’s desert, particularly in the summer. The trail picks up around 600 feet in elevation, requiring good fitness and preparedness.
- Location - Canaan Mountain Wilderness / Hildale
- Miles - 2.5 /out-and-back
- Rating – Moderate
- Trailhead Facilities - Restroom / trail kiosk