I found the Yellow Knolls Trail during an online search. Based on the description it seemed like an easy enough hike and I “thought” I knew right where it was. Good thing we printed off directions (always print off directions). It was no where near where I thought it was.
Yellow Knolls Trail is part of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. First thing to know, and most important, is that the road out to the trail is rocky. The site alluded to the fact that it was gravel, but it was not gravel. There are full fledged rocks we were trying to maneuver around in our fancy minivan. We made it, but not without a few gasps and breath holding as Mr.G did his best ninja moves behind the wheel. An SUV or truck would be ideal. A sedan and minivan can make it out there, but be advised there are some wonky parts in the road and the higher your ground clearance is, the better.
Surprisingly there were already a few cars out there when we arrived, and we came across one other family on the trail, but it felt very open and secluded. Cell service still worked (which always puts a mom at ease).
There is a great map at the start of the trail. The first part the trail is great. Easy, downhill, open, the trail is clear of debris and wide open views. This part of the trail could easily be walked by a 2 year old, with some hand holding. You’ll go slow, but it could be done. My 4 year old only stumbled a few times, but I’m pretty sure that was because he was trying to keep up with the 10 year old. This is still a nature path, so there are bumps and rocks, but it is very easy for the kids to run up ahead on their own. Because the view is so open, if you have some independent types, this is a great area for them to run up ahead and blaze the trail on their own. Keep your eyes peeled for lizards and other fun creatures. We found plenty.
As you hit the rocky area, there is some big rocks and steps to navigate through. My 4 year old was still able to do this completely on his own. There were not too many large drop-offs so I felt comfortable letting them explore. We took a break once we hit the rocks and shade for a water break. Note that there is NOT a lot of shade on this trail. Water, water and more water. I suggest trying the trail early in the morning for summer temps. This place was a great stop for for my climbers.
On the other side of the rocks is more rocks to climb, but the trail is still easy to follow. There are flat areas and even some crevices with water (depending on the weather recently). This is where we stopped (about 1.5 miles in). You can keep going for about another .4 miles, but we were short on time and my kids really just wanted to throw rocks in the pool. The rock formations are great and have amazing designs to look at. Take pictures!
With lots of stops to play, we did the 3 miles round trip in just about 2 hours. This time will be vastly different for each family based on skill, age and desire to play. Great trail for kids. The other family we crossed paths with had 4 little girls and a little boy. Dad had a baby in a backpack and mom had a baby in a sling. The girls were in skirts and the mom was in sandals. I point this out to show you just how easy the trail is.
From I-5, take exit 8. Turn WEST on to St. George BLVD. On 1000 E. take the first right and then turn right on Red Hills Parkway. Turn LEFT on Cottonwood Springs Road (on Google Maps it labels the road N Twin Lakes Dr and then changes to Cottonwood Springs Road). Continue driving for approximately 6.5 miles. Entering “Yellow Knolls Trail St. George UT” into Google Maps will successfully lead you to the trailhead.
- Easy trail
- Short, but could go longer if you continue on trail
- Great climbing rocks
- Interesting rock designs
- Decide your own length (total trail is 4 miles roundtrip)
- Bike, Dog and Horse friendly
- Rougher than normal road for the average car/minivan
- Super hot / little shade (if visiting in late spring/summer)