The Vermillion Castle Trail

An Off the Beaten Path Trail Near Brian Head Resort

Categories: Hiking, Road Trips, Utah

On our second day at Brian Head, which I constantly type out as Brain Head, we decided to go hike in an interesting looking canyon we had driven through on the way up to see fall colors. Second Left Hand Canyon has some neat rock formations sticking up out of the trees. It’s downhill from the lodge but it’s high enough that the red tower formations are surrounded by pines, ponderosas, and some aspen, making it visually look reminiscent of Bryce Canyon.


A weird hole that looked almost like it had been carved out.

Maree picks a path below a tower.

It was a brilliant morning and we reached some flat cliffs to take a break on and enjoy the forest.

On the way down from the lodge we explored some huge tower formations apparently made out of strange conglomerate rocks. I’m glad we did this because the towers are one of the areas that was badly burned the following summer. After those we headed over Second Left Hand Canyon where we hiked the Vermillion Castle trail. It’s about 1.5 miles and climbs steeply 570 feet. That’s not very long or high but you will feel it if you aren’t accustomed to the altitude, and it was still hot in the sun despite being the end of September. Once it’s up above the trees the trail offers some very pretty views of the valley and the equally impressive cliffs on the other side, included one called Noah’s Ark.

The trail is short enough to make an easy hike during a day of other activities if you are continuing up the road or simply staying at the resort. There are additional trails on the other side of the valley and off trail exploring up the side canyons can also be rewarding.

The tallest of the towers.

It started getting steeper and rougher so I continued on alone.

A close up of the rock these towers were made of.

The stream-stone conglomerate was very poor for climbing on because you had no idea when your handhold would pop out or turn into rolling marbles beneath your feet. It also was very hard on the knees and elbows.

I climbed up until i could see the top was a continuous overhanging lip of some other sediment.

We were done with the conglomerate towers so we headed several miles down the road to do the Vermillion Castle Trail.

The trail starts off with a series of steep switchbacks.

Here’s a neat hidden tree in a dark, cool trench.

The trail doesn’t level off until near the end when you finally get a peek at the “castle”.

The views in the valley below are great.

The Vermillion Castle. I was disappointed the trail did not go up to the base or on top of the rusty cliffs.

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