No Filter: Hunting elephants in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

FEATURE — They had seen many pictures, heard stories and admired it from afar but Grady Sinclair and Paul Ford’s hologram never made the trek to one of Southern Utah’s most treasured geologic formations, Elephant Arch.

On this episode of “No Filter” the boys get back to their love of nature and head out to the desert on safari in search of a beautiful, but small arch nestled among the crimson cliffs of the Red Cliff Desert Reserve.

Watch the boys of “No Filter” get back to their roots exploring the desert and Elephant Arch in the media player above.

Elephant Arch trail is really easy to find at the north end of Main Street in Washington City. After the pavement ends and the Mill Creek trailhead begins, continue walking north toward the red rocks until reaching the Bone Wash trail marker and head west following the many unique cairns marking the way.

The popular trail, about 4 miles round trip, is mainly used for hiking but is a favorite spot among local equestrians, so keep a keen eye on where you step. The ground is also extremely sandy and walking can be difficult and tiring at times. With little shade in the area and the temperatures hot this time of year be prepared and bring plenty of water.

Desert foliage, lizards and fantastic geology – “We had no idea it was this amazing out here,” Sinclair said.

Jim Crisp, a volunteer trail steward for Washington County walks the path and is dedicated to maintaining its beauty for everyone to enjoy. He said they do whatever it takes to make the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve look like it’s supposed to.

“Elephant Arch is a fun place to go,” Crisp said, adding that it was a favorite spot for legendary and beloved nature enthusiast, the late Ranger Bart Anderson to take people on adventures. His friends can still be found hiking occasionally at the cherished spot.

The sandstone arch is best viewed from the southeast side and has an uncanny resemblance to an elephant profile with its trunk and deep hollow eye. Crisp said you can find similar formations all around the county in many sizes from one canyon to another.

Although moderately difficult, the 2-3 hour trip is a fun adventure suitable for all ages and even the four-legged furry members of the family are welcome with a leash.

Here is a map of the area:

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