Known as one of the most spectacular and ecologically significant wilderness areas in Utah, Red Butte Wilderness is a pristine setting for primitive camping, outdoor activities, and memorable getaways. This Bureau of Land Management property located 10 miles north of Virgin River, Utah, can be accessed from the western and southeastern areas. Vehicles are not allowed within the wilderness boundaries.
There are plenty of things to do at Red Butte Wilderness. If all you need is a place to be by yourself and enjoy some peace and quiet, you’ll find beautiful spots to enjoy some much-needed solitude. For adventurous pursuits such as hiking and mountaineering, there’s also enough room around the wilderness. Other activities such as nature viewing, flora observation, and wildlife viewing are also popular within the area. Sightseers enjoy amazing views of natural landscapes and colorful architectural designs. The nearby Zion National Park offers additional recreational opportunities such as bicycling and canyoneering. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is yet another nearby attractive destination for visitors.
Guests can enjoy free camping across the wilderness. However, the closest modern campground is at Zion National Park.
Red Butte Wilderness is located east of Pintura, off Interstate 15, Utah. This Bureau of Land Management property can be accessed by vehicles from the western and southeastern parts. If you’re coming from the west, a jeep trails grants access to the park from North Spring. On the other hand, the southeastern part of the wilderness is accessible from Lamareau Tank Service Road, west of Kolob Reservoir Road. Mesa Road is the local road that leads to the park from Interstate 15, and it’s advisable to travel the road in four-wheel-drive vehicles.
At Red Butte Wilderness, motorized vehicles and other mechanical equipment such as bikes are not allowed. So, look out for signs and posts that indicate where the wilderness boundaries are so that you’ll be able to park your vehicles. Getting around in the wilderness is either on foot or on your horse. Wheelchairs are allowed within the wilderness.
There are no direct public transportation services to Red Butte Wilderness.
For guests who wish to get RVs and trailers for developed camping opportunities nearby, rental equipment is available at the nearby Zion National Park.
Three campgrounds are available at Zion National Park. These camping areas offer primitive, tent and RV camping opportunities for guests with plenty of parking space for vehicles. Some of the campsites are available by reservation, while others are available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Pets are allowed within the camping areas.
Electric hookups are provided for RVs within some of the campsites, while most sites do not have hookups. Amenities such as flush toilets, potable water, trash containers, picnic tables, and fire pits/grills are also available.
Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 8 am. RVs and trailers longer than 100 feet cannot be accommodated in the camping areas.
One of the best ways to explore the entire extent of Red Butte Wilderness is by hiking the park’s areas. There are plenty of amazing spots to discover along the footpaths within the wilderness that present backdrops for nature photography.
Park guests that are feeling up to it can hike up the mountainsides and hills too, for extra adventure. Because there are no facilities in the wilderness, endeavor to come along with all you’ll need for your backpacking exercise.
The vegetation in the Red Butte Wilderness area is consistent with those found in the American Desert Zone. Therefore, flora enthusiasts come across blackrush, creosote bush, salt bush, and other plant communities that are adapted to the dry conditions prevalent in the area.
Riparian habitats are also present along the hanging garden grows, streambeds and drips on the canyon walls, supporting the growth of other plants such as pink-flowered shooting star, Maidenhair fern, and scarlet monkeyflower.
Different areas in Red Butte Wilderness support the presence of wildlife species, and this makes the BLM wilderness a popular destination among wildlife viewers. The sunny slopes in the wilderness are home to mule deer in winter. Mountain lions are prevalent across the entire wilderness area. The steep cliff walls in the wilderness host seven different species of raptors, some of which are prairie falcon, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and American kestrel.
A lot of fascinating spots are present within Red Butte Wilderness, particularly in the areas that are decorated by the landscapes and beautiful geological elements. The Grand Staircase plateaus, for example, is composed of rugged sedimentary cliffs that are lovely to see.
Canyons as deep as 1,000 feet with red walls of sandstone also further enhance the park’s beauty. From about a mile away, the way the Red Butte stands out at 1,800 feet is a beautiful spectacle.
There are no biking trails available within Red Butte Wilderness, and bicycles are not allowed. However, riders enjoy the chance to explore the Pa’rus Trail available at Zion National Park. The roadways in the park are also open to cycling.
In addition, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to guests who want to have a taste of exciting adventure on the scenic drive. Also, group cycling opportunities are available. All are required to wear helmets and be safe while cycling within the park.
Rock climbing and canyoneering are exciting ways to spend time at Red Butte Wilderness and the nearby Zion National Park. Within the wilderness, no permits are required for both activities, but at the national park, you need a permit for technical canyoneering trips.
What’s interesting is that there are so many canyons to explore that plenty of opportunities are available for visitors of all skill levels. At Zion National Park, this activity is accompanied by rappelling, route finding, and swimming.