EAGLE CRAGS TRAIL
|TRAIL INFORMATION||VIEW PHOTOS!|
If you look south of Springdale, you may notice the jagged rock formations of the Eagle Crags looming in the distance. Located in BLM land south of Rockville, the Eagle Crags Trail good half-day hike that approaches and circles east of the Vermilion Cliffs to end just under the imposing Eagle Crags formations. Along the way, you will get good views of the Virgin River valley to the north and Parunuweap Canyon to the east.
Getting to the Trailhead:
To drive to the Eagle Crags Trailhead, follow Route 9 out of Springdale until you enter the small town of Rockville. Look for Bridge Road that heads south across the river. (Bridge Road may be easy to miss if you are not looking for it, but drive slowly and look for the small lattice truss bridge that crosses the Virgin River.) Once across the bridge, keep heading south as the road turns to dirt and heads up a steep slope. Ignore the side roads and follow the main track as it loops around and heads northeast. Look for the trailhead (which may or may not have a sign) on the right and park. Note: The ascent up this dirt road is often ungraded and difficult, so a 4WD vehicle is recommended. If you have low-clearance vehicle, you may need to find a place to park below the first bench.
The Eagles Crag Trail is a fairly easy to follow 2.5-mile trail (one way) that may take between 3-5 hours to complete (round trip). The trail starts heading southeast through fairly level terrain, but after passing a fence and hiker's gate, the trail begins to gain elevation as it makes its way up the erosion hills beneath the Vermilion Cliffs. As you gain elevation, be sure to look behind you to take in the impressive views of the valley below as Parunuweap Canyon becomes more visible. As the trail passes east of the Eagle Crags, it turns more south, and in a little bowl area, the trail becomes steeper as it climbs higher up the hills. Soon enough, the Eagle Crags is due west and the trail abruptly ends. There are numerous welcoming boulders to sit on and relax with a lunch before turning around and heading back.
For those looking for something a little spicier, it is possible to hike and scramble up to the base of the Eagle Crags formations, but take great care as the approach is steep and there are loose rocks everywhere. It is also possible to continue hiking south towards Lower Mountain and Canaan Mountain. In the 1980s, there were plans to continue the trail south up an old steep stock trail to join it up with Lower Mountain and the trail on Canaan Mountain, but those plans never came to fruition. (Those with intimate knowledge of the terrain have connected the dots and I will post a report if I ever try this and succeed one day.)
|Eagle Crags Trail Map.
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I don't think this hike is for everybody, but I do find this trail to be quite beautiful and serene. The views along the way are unique as most people never catch a glimpse into Parunuweap Canyon or South Creek and Lower Mountain. As with all hikes in the desert section, this could be brutally hot during the summer months, so save this for the cooler seasons or a cloudy/rainy day.