Land Hill
In the wake of an exhausting outing the previous day, Zosia Zgolak and I enjoyed a shorter and more relaxed hike up Land Hill in the Santa Clara River Reserve just outside St. George, Utah on 17 April 2022.  We discovered this gem of an area serendipitously after camping at the Anasazi Valley trailhead a couple of nights earlier.  Land Hill is the officially-named high point of a long escarpment which stretches along the east bank of Santa Clara River, but the real attraction of the area is the extensive network of scenic trails crisscrossing the open desert landscape.  Due to their close proximity to St. George, these trails are exceedingly popular with hikers of all shapes and sizes as well as mountain bikers.

From St. George, drive northwest through the suburb of Santa Clara and out of town via Santa Clara Drive which becomes Old Highway 91.  After passing the junction with Kwavasa Drive, continue along Old Highway 91 for 800 metres and turn left onto an unsigned gravel road marked by two pillars of stacked boulders.  Drive about 250 metres to reach the Anasazi Valley trailhead parking lot with vault toilet and bicycle repair station.  The overflow parking lot which was the original trailhead is another 350 metres further along the gravel road.  Note that there are other trailheads to the south which also provide access to the same area.

Zosia and I opted to start our hike from the overflow parking lot, and we followed the main Anasazi Trail which climbs gently and makes several long switchbacks up the north end of Land Hill.  Along the way, we stopped briefly at an archaeological excavation site, but aside from an interpretive sign and some fencing, there was really nothing worth seeing there.  More interesting were the numerous petroglyphs found further south among the rocks near the edge of the escarpment.  We spent a bit of time poking around here and speculating about the meanings of the enigmatic images and symbols etched in rock.  Despite easy access to these petroglyphs, I was impressed by how well-preserved they were without any hints of vandalism.  From the petroglyph site, we walked along the top of the escarpment to the rather nebulous high point of Land Hill and stopped for a break before turning around.  On the way back, we took a more direct trail back to the overflow parking lot, but otherwise, our return hike was uneventful.
The trail was definitely built for bikers!

Zosia hikes up the north end of Land Hill via the wide and gentle Anasazi Trail.  In the background are the Red Mountains.

I think it's a lounge lizard!

One of the many common lizards in the area sunbathes on a rock.

Meh. Zosia checks out an archaeological excavation site which is less interesting than it seems.
What she is pointing at looks like a maze...or a map! Maybe a treasure map!

Zosia points to one of the many petroglyphs found among some rocks near the edge of an escarpment.

Spirals seem to be a recurring motif in many of these petroglyphs... Here are some more petroglyphs.
Very pleasant walking! Zosia hikes along the top of the escarpment toward the high point of Land Hill.
West Mountain Peak will be on our to-do list the next time we're down here. Near the high point of Land Hill, Zosia enjoys views of Santa Clara River valley as well as West Mountain Peak on the horizon at centre.

Happy Easter!

Zosia and Sonny celebrate Easter Sunday on the high point of Land Hill (1011 metres).


Variety is the spice of life! Zosia returns to the trailhead via a different trail.
A great "rest day" hike! Total Distance:  5.8 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  2 hours 25 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  110 metres

GPX Data