Scouting Out Scout Cave

This day is definitely a keeper.

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Trail to Scout Cave

Great weather is not hard to come by in southern Utah, especially in the autumn months. The first day of November, however, is exceptional. Just ahead of the onset of a predicted cold front (with possible winds up to 60 mph) our early morning skies are cloudless crystal blue clear with a breeze that could scarcely ruffle a raven feather. Afternoon temperatures  lightly kiss the low 70’s.
My Tuesday–hiking–buddy Judy chooses to lead us to Scout Cave and so I find myself once again in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve of red–rock sandstone hoodoos and precipitous cliffs. Even after living in southern Utah for 16 years I had never been to this particular spot. I happily put my life (or at least my mid-morning) into her carefree map–free hands.

I was dragged up here to see this?

Along the trail we gaze down on the dark Santa Clara basalt flow cascading from vents above nearby Snow Canyon (check out my post about this flow here).

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Black Santa Clara flow contrasts red sandstones

The trail contours around and down into an elongated canyon of fractured sandstone cliffs.

Trail contours down to the right

Scout Cave can be found eroded into one of these fractures.

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Scout Cave


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Judy snacking – Scout Cave for scale

The fracture that forms the cave goes all the way up through the sandstone.

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Catching daylight

Flat rocks inside the coolness of the cave beckon us to park ourselves and enjoy a snack. The expansive view beyond the towns of Ivins and Santa Clara towards the Beaver Dam Mountains captures our attention as we chew and chat. We explore outside a second nearby cave involving a short but tricky ascent with dubious handholds. We freely admit to our sketchy rock–climbing abilities and so leave that cave scouting for perhaps another day.

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From the inside