The Butch Cassidy Trail reputedly leads to one of the hideouts used by the Hole in the Wall Gang.
The Butch Cassidy Trail, Ledge Point Trail, Rich Trail
Following yesterday's romp through the historic wild west in Butch Cassidy Draw, the enticing objective for this day is the long-anticipated hike on the Butch Cassidy Trail.
The hiking route will include Ledge Point and the Rich Trail. The Butch Cassidy Trail is purportedly one of the routes used by the Hole in the Wall Gang, and subsequently The Wild Bunch, to seek refuge from the law in the natural fortresses created by rugged desert canyons.
The drive past this trail head has occurred many times over the past 30 years with the repetitive mutter, 'Gotta hike that trail someday'. Today is the day. The trail has been renamed to the Cassidy Trail at the Red Canyon Trail-head. The only car in the small parking area is mine.
At 8:10 AM the hike begins on the Butch Cassidy Trail in cool weather combined with the spectacular light and color of morning sun which increases richness in the color of the rock. It will be a determined push this morning to cover as much ground as possible before the predetermined 11 AM turnaround time. The backpack is heavy with 6 liters of water. The weight and accessibility of water from backpack bladders motivates drinking because access is easy and reducing the weight is motivational.
After hiking north on the Cassidy Trail, a left turn at the first Rich Trail intersection leads to another left turn further along onto the Ledge Point Trail loop. The first stop for a rest occurs at Ledge Point, surrounded by 1,000 ft (305 m) drops and spectacular sweeping scenery.
The day is heating up rapidly. The temperature will be 110 F in the shade by noon so the fascinating hike proceeds as expeditiously as practical and possible. Cloud will build in the afternoon but now, there is a clear blue sky. Finishing the Ledge Point Loop, and continuing through a striking Ponderosa and pinion pine forest, the trail continues north on the Rich Trail past The Gap to the spectacular views down into Losee Canyon at Brayton Point.
From here well-dined hiking trail continues east on the Cassidy Trail along the top ridge of Losee Canyon. Horseback riders appear as slow-moving specks at the bottom of Losee Canyon.
Leaving the top of the canyon on Rich Trail, switchbacks cross a large rock slab which, from the sound made by hiking poles, is definitely hollow underneath.
By 11 AM, gradual descent begins approaching the bottom of Losee Canyon on the Cassidy Trail. The heat is stifling as the time to turn around arrives. Relaxing under a pine tree for a few minutes and hanging clothes to dry occurs while consuming a protein supplement, electrolyte and lots of water before hiking back on the Cassidy Trail and Rich Trail to the parking area.
The return hike returns to the car near 1 PM. Following lunch in the shade of the veranda at Red Canyon Visitor Center the next hike for this day will be the Golden Wall, Castle Bridge and Buckhorn Trails in the afternoon on the other side of the highway .
This is the final day of hiking in the Red Canyon area and it is important to achieve as much as possible while there is the opportunity. It is never completely known if there will be another opportunity to experience this particular brand of unique and spectacular joy. Go hard or go home.