Red Reef was one of the hikes that originated right at our own campground, so we did it often when the temperatures permitted. I think we completed the portion of this hike that was dog friendly three times in our six days at the campground.
The hike starts out just across from the day use parking area and if you don’t have pups (or probably small children) it does make a loop. However, since I had the 4 legged kids with me, it was an out and back. Hiking across red rock, can be tough on naked feet! Darby did fine with it, but Olivia’s feet got a bit tender pretty quickly, so she mostly rode in her pack. There is some incredible scenery through this hike – gnarled trees, lots of red rock – and then you arrive at the pools, and the turn around point for dogs. There are little moki hand holds that you can use to cross the pools – but my dogs aren’t that talented. The pools were quite stagnant when we were here, but there did still appear to be fish and frogs in them – and I am told they actually have running water in the winter season.
Red Reef was my favorite “late-in-the-evening” hike – and while it wasn’t exactly “cool” out at 8:30 or 9, it was a comfortable to hike in the canyon. We saw no rattlesnakes on this hike, but a fair amount of lizards, that Darby really REALLY wanted to chase! I don’t know that I would consider this to be an super accessible hike because of the hand holes on the rock for crossing the ponds. If you have very young, or older people in your group, you may not be able to make it to the end – but it is a very nice hike anyway!