The United States Congress designated the Red Mountain Wilderness (map
) in 2009 and it now has a total of 18,689 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Utah
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Zion National Park's world-famous landscape of soaring cliff walls, forested plateaus, and deep, narrow gorges extends well beyond the boundaries of the park onto surrounding BLM and FS lands. The following wilderness areas are all part of this extended landscape: Beartrap Canyon Wilderness, Blackridge Wilderness, Canaan Mountain Wilderness, Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness, Cottonwood Forest Wilderness, Cougar Canyon Wilderness, Deep Creek Wilderness, Deep Creek North Wilderness, Doc's Pass Wilderness, Goose Creek Wilderness, LaVerkin Creek Wilderness, Red Butte Wilderness, Red Mountain Wilderness, Slaughter Creek Wilderness, Taylor Creek Wilderness.
In this area, clear mountain streams descend from the juniper-dotted uplands into a network of canyons. On the highest plateaus, islands of ponderosa pine forest are surrounded by cream-colored slickrock. Seeps in the canyon walls provide water for bouquets of maidenhair fern, scarlet monkeyflower, and columbine. Hawks, falcons, and eagles nest along the sandstone walls, while ringtailed cats, deer, cougar, and bear live in the canyon bottoms.
Water is everything here. It is the architect of natural stone temples and slot canyons; it is life to the area's many plants and animals, sustenance to the nearby human population. Yet it is a capricious provider -- sometimes coming not at all for months, sometimes swelling the canyons with floodwater.
Some of the most challenging and delightful canyon hikes to be found anywhere are available here. Consequently, the area receives heavy recreational use. North Fork Virgin River, Orderville, and Deep Creek canyons provide alternative access routes to the popular Zion Narrows hiking route across BLM and Park Service land. The Canaan Mountain Wilderness and Blackridge Wilderness, while lesser known than the other areas adjacent to the park, offer equally outstanding hiking and superlative views of the surrounding country.
The National Park Service estimates that nearly 5,000 people annually hike the Narrows from Chamberlain Ranch. This primary access route into the Narrows leads through the North Fork Virgin River.
Maps: Northeastern Washington County Wilderness--5.6 MB PDF Northwestern Washington County Wilderness--7.5 MB PDF