Hiking Project Logo

blue Red Cathedral Out-and-Back

  4.5 ( 8 ) Favorite

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store

Trail

2.9 mile 4.7 kilometer out and back
Singletrack
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 522' 159 m
Descent: -522' -159 m
High: 397' 121 m
Low: -125' -38 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Kathy Bass

A three mile round trip out-and-back hike offering close-up views of canyons carved by flash floods.

Kathy Bass

Features Views

Overview

Hike this in the afternoon so that the sun is setting on Red Cathedral when you arrive. The red rocks glow beautifully and the hike is more shaded in the afternoon. Be warned there are some narrow passageways on the 0.5 mi section once you leave the Golden Canyon Trail. (Bring a headlamp if you plan to hike this as the sunsets, just in case).

Need to Know

Some narrow spaces and minor rock scrambling needed. Carry lots of water and watch your head in low clearance areas.

Description

From the Golden Canyon parking lot head into the canyon via Golden Canyon Trail. Follow the canyon as it winds through the striated rock. A few meters into the trail to your right, you can see that the trail was once paved and flash flooding has washed all but a small section of the pavement away; this little remnant is now several feet above the ground.

After following the canyon for a mile, a sign marks the way to Red Cathedral via Upper Golden Canyon Trail - Red Cathedral Access. Pay attention on the way; rocks should be lined up to prevent you from turning down a wrong canyon, but stay mindful of your surroundings. In the section to Red Cathedral there are several places where you have to squeeze in a narrow and places where you have to crouch under rocks to continue on. There are usually several approaches to each obstacle so take some time to plan you approach and stay safe.

After a narrow portion, the canyon widens an reveals Red Cathedral which is a truly awesome sight. Take a moment to rest and enjoy the beauty and silence before heading back the way you came.

Flora & Fauna

Some lizards can be seen in the late afternoon.

History & Background

This canyon was used while filming one of the Star Wars movies.

Contacts

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

Dec 30, 2019
Jessica P
4.4mi
May 19, 2019
Luc Heitz
May 12, 2019
Ch S
May 7, 2019
Steven Springer
Mar 16, 2019
Aaron Fri
Mar 9, 2019
Ross Polk
Ducked under falling rock, enjoyed the red beauty
Jan 9, 2019
Ngoc Pham
Jan 8, 2019
Kevin Wu

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 8 votes

#1686

Overall
  4.5 from 8 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#242

in California

#1,686

Overall
33 Views Last Month
461 Since Apr 25, 2018
Intermediate Intermediate

14%
14%
43%
29%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking