Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

345 E Riverside Dr, St. George, UT 84790, USA

Established primarily to help preserve the ecosystem and habitable zone of the desert tortoise, an endangered species, the Red Cliffs National Conservation area covers nearly 45,000 rugged acres just north of the city of St. George in the southwest corner of Utah. Beyond being interesting for the tortoise, the area’s geology is unique because it encompasses a large swath of the transition zone between three major geographical zones, the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. There are lots of hiking and mountain-biking trails (Church Rock Loop, a 9.5-mile round-trip hike, leads to dinosaur tracks!) but special caution must be taken depending on where you go and camp. Seeing a desert tortoise is rare, but they should be left alone.

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