Have you made plans to visit the beautiful Logan Canyon for its stunning views and grand hiking trails? Be sure to consider the locally favorite Crimson Trail! This unique trail runs along a ridge known as the China Wall and it offers some of the grandest views of the canyon and its contents.
With the many options for hiking trails in Logan Canyon, it can be challenging to settle on which one(s) you plan to visit. I’m going to describe one of my all-time favorites, The Crimson Trail, and discuss whether or not it is the right fit for you and your family’s vacation hike. Included is everything you need to know before deciding on the Crimson Trail hike.
The Crimson Trail offers spectacular views of the Logan Canyon from a point of view high above the highway that runs through it. Although the majority of the hike is relatively flat, it does require a steep climb in elevation to get up to the flat portion. The Crimson Trail is a looped trail with starting points at the Spring Hollow Campground and the Guinavah-Malibu campground, and a path along the river that connects the two, finishing the loop. It generally takes about 3 hours to complete, depending on fitness levels and weather conditions. If you would like to cut down the total hiking time and distance, you can do so by parking a car at one campground and driving a different car to the other campground, effectively cutting out the portion of the hike along the river that connects the two campgrounds.
Distance: 4.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Elevation Gain: 1,345 ft
Dogs Allowed: Yes, on and off leash
Crimson Trail Location
Guinavah – Malibu Campground – secondary access point to the trail
The Crimson Trail Head can be found at the Spring Hollow Campground, which is located approximately four miles into the Logan Canyon. In order to enter the Spring Hollow Campground, you must cross over a bridge that has a weight limit. Smaller, shorter vehicles are recommended as opposed to a trailer or RV setup. You can also access the trail at the Guinavah-Malibu campground which is located roughly five miles into the Logan Canyon (one mile passed the Spring Hollow Campground). Both the Spring Hollow campground and the Guinavah-Malibu Campground have parking, all of which is first come, first serve. Parking at the Spring Hollow Campground is minimal, but there is no fee for day parking. On the other hand, the Guinavah-Malibu Campground does require a small fee for parking. Both campgrounds have restrooms that are accessible to hikers before and after hitting the trail.
Crimson Trail Description
The Crimson Trail offers impressive views from a unique vantage point, but it does take some work to get up to its glory. If you choose to start from the Spring Hollow campground, you will have to hike through the campground on a paved path for about half a mile before reaching the trailhead. Once you reach the trailhead, you can expect some pretty steep, tight switchbacks. These span for about another half a mile. But once you reach the top of these switchbacks, you will be hiking along a ridge with relatively no elevation change that allows for sweeping views of the canyon in both directions. From up here, if you look across the way you can see The Wind Caves, another of our favorite trails that you should consider! (Shown with Red Arrow)
The majority of the hike is along this ridge, and it is well worth the hard work that it takes to get up to it. It’s important to note that because of the ridge this trail is located in, you should only bring children with whom you are confident in their footing. If you still want to do the hike and have a younger child with you, I suggest bringing a carrier or some other device to strap them to yourself in order to keep them safe. It also may not be advisable to bring anyone who has a fear of heights.
Once you reach the end of the ridge section of the trail, you will again follow some switchbacks down into the Guinavah-Malibu campground. This section of the hike is heavily shaded, so you may run into a snowy path later into the summer than you would on the rest of the hike. Remember to pack layers and wear waterproof boots to remain comfortable and allow for peak enjoyment. This side is also steep, just like the west side, so whichever direction you decide to take, plan on it being steep on the way up and steep on the way down. It can also often be wet and muddy, so be aware that the ground may be slick and require some extra careful footing.
After you have reached the Guinavah-Malibu campground, the path turns into the Riverside Trail which will lead you back to the Spring Hollow Campground. This section of the trail doesn’t have the up-high viewpoint, but it is equally as enjoyable. There isn’t much change in elevation and it runs along the river which gives a scenic surrounding and calming presence. If you want to shorten your hike, you can skip this section by parking one vehicle at one campground, and driving another vehicle to the other campground to start. Then you will have a car waiting when you reach the bottom, and you can drive back to the other one instead of walking the Riverside Trail.
When To Hike Crimson Trail
As I mentioned before, parking spots at both campgrounds are first come, first serve. Because of this, I suggest starting this hike early in the morning. If you enjoy later-in-the-day hikes, you are also more likely to find spots in the later afternoon than you would in the late morning or early afternoon, but be sure to give yourself enough time to finish before the sun sets. The nature of this trail doesn’t make it feasible for night hiking.
The path on the east side of the trail that connects the ridge to the Guinavah-Malibu campground is well-shaded, so it tends to stay snowy for longer than other areas as I mentioned before. Because of this, we suggest waiting until at least late June into July for a summer hike. Another great time to visit this trail is in the fall when the leaves have turned and autumn colors are present. This adds another layer of beauty to the already magnificent trail.
Tips For Hiking Crimson Trail With Kids
We always encourage bringing the kids along, but please be aware that the majority of this hike is along a ridge with steep drop-offs. Please remind your children of the importance of being cautious for their safety. For the little ones, we suggest bringing a carrier or something similar that can harness your child to you for their safety. The views are amazing, but enjoy them from a safe distance, and don’t get too close to the edge!
The Riverside Trail that connects the two campgrounds is very popular with families. It is fairly flat and runs alongside the picturesque river, so this is a great portion for your kids to have more freedom in their mobility and adventuring. If you have extra time in your day, some beachy areas along this path could be utilized for a picnic stop. There are also many opportunities for fishing, so bring a pole if that’s something you enjoy!
About The Author: I became a Utahan in 2015 after moving to Logan from Idaho to attend Utah State University. I quickly fell in love with the town’s proximity to the mountains and endless adventure, and I have called this place home ever since. With our two high-energy dogs, my partner and I have turned our love of the outdoors into family outings that stimulate and exercise everyone.
Although I don’t yet have children, I have two nieces and a nephew who mean the world to me. I love spending as much time as possible with them and have joined many vacations and family travels. To them, the guest room in their home is “Joanie’s Room.” I also have nannied for a local family for many years now, and those children have brought me more joy than I could have imagined throughout my time with them.
I love the happiness and carefree attitude that can be learned from children. In the future, I hope to have my own to share adventures with.