“Open desert loop with good views of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
— John Maurizi
The loop incorporates two trails, Historic Babylon Trail
and Little Purgatory Trail
. This loop offers no shade from the blistering sun. It is best to hike the loop in a counter-clockwise direction because of the more gradual ascent on the Babylon Trail. At the start there is several excellent petroglyphs.
Need to Know
The trail has full exposure to the sun. Hike very early in the morning.
The trailhead has space for about three or four cars. Watch for an obvious gap in the cliffs very close to the trailhead, this is where you should park. Just before exiting the gap, look to the left for some interesting petroglyphs. The trail follows a dry wash through some heavy vegetation for a short distance.
When you emerge from the vegetation, the Little Purgatory Trail
will be on your left. Continue straight as the Historic Babylon Trail
works its way uphill across varied terrain. At some points, the trail is difficult to follow. Watch for cairns, some of which are small.
At about 2.5 miles, the trail reaches a barbed wire fence overlooking the town of Leeds. Make a sharp left and the trail will steadily climb at times passing through the fence in several locations. After one long switchback, the trail ends and the Little Purgatory Trail
begins. This spot is marked by a three-foot high plastic marker.
Continue on the Little Purgatory Trail
as it works its way back toward the trailhead. To the right are great views of the Red Cliffs. The trail back is very steep at times with many switchbacks. When the trail meets the Historic Babylon Trail
, turn right and return to the parking area.