Skip to main content

U.S. Forest Service

Intermountain Region Viewing Area


Painted penstemon. Painted penstemon (Penstemon caespitosus var. desertipicti).

Bristlecone pine. Bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva).

Red Canyon Botanical Area

Forest: Dixie National Forest

District: Powell Ranger District

Description: The Red Canyon Botanical Area offers unique Tertiary Claron Limestone Formation soils that provide habitat for rare plant species that are found nowhere else in the world. Bristlecone Pines stand as sentinels in this unique cushion plant community surrounded by largely barren highly erosive pink Claron Formation soils. To preserve these rare plant species that only occur in this area of Utah, the Forest Service has designated the Red Canyon Botanical Area.

Viewing Information: Just 150 feet beyond the Red Canyon Botanical Area kiosk, you'll begin encountering the rare plant species. There isn't a trail, so it's important to tread lightly and treat this fragile ecology with the utmost care. With just a little effort from everyone, we can preserve the Red Canyon Botanical Area for generations to come.

Safety First: Visitors should keep in mind that there are no established trails in this viewing site. The soils (Tertiary Claron Limestone) in the area are highly erosive and littered with talus. Steep and unstable escarpments are home to several of the unique plants in the area. Adequate footwear for this kind of terrain is recommended. Great care should be taken when walking on the unstable slopes and escarpments. When visiting in the summer, be mindful that the Paunsaugunt Plateau which borders this wildflower viewing area to the East attracts massive thunderstorms that display their fury with spectacular lightning shows. When these storms appear, it is recommended that you seek shelter immediately.

Directions: The Red Canyon Botanical Area is located in south-central Garfield County in Utah on the Powell Ranger District of the Dixie National Forest.  It is located on the eastern fringe of Red Canyon just South of Highway 12. 

From the Red Canyon Visitor, take Highway 12 east for 4 miles.  One quarter mile after you clear the top of the long hill, you’ll see an improved dirt road on your right.  Turn right onto this road, and follow it for approximately 2 miles.

From the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center, take Highway 12 west for 6 miles.  Just before the long downhill descent, you’ll see an improved dirt road on your left.  Turn left onto this road, and follow it for approximately 2 miles.

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Dixie National Forest, Powell Ranger District.

Closest Town: Panguitch, Utah.