Access to Red Cliffs Recreation Area is via old Hwy 91, between Leeds and Hurricane Junction. About half way along, beside the upper end of Quail Creek Reservoir and opposite the St George KOA campground, a side road forks northwest, passing underneath the two lanes of I-15 via low height (11' 9") bridges. The preserve entrance is on the far side, next to an overflow parking area, as space is quite limited at the creek/campground, 1.5 miles further. But if full, the walk from the entrance takes less than half an hour, along trails or the road. Unlike Quail Creek State Park, the recreation area does not appear to be signposted from nearby main roads, yet it is quite popular, mostly with families.
Several short trails start from the overflow parking area, to such destinations as an old Mormon homestead (Orson Adams House), the remains of a 1954 movie set, an ancient Anasazi site and the lower section of the creek, plus several longer routes; one (the White Reef Trail
) follows a line of jagged rocks northwards, past three sets of Jurassic dinosaur footprints. But the main path is the Red Reef Trail
, starting at the far end of the road, beside the picnic area. This follows the creek, initially still surrounded by open, sandy ground, towards a line of low cliffs to the west. The cottonwood-lined drainage becomes enclosed after half a mile, and a little wading becomes necessary to continue. The water is generally just a few inches deep but some pools can be 2 to 3 feet deep. The number of hikers soon tails off due to a short series of obstructions; first is a deep pool, passed using footholes carved into the rocks on one side, aided by a rope. The narrowest section is not far beyond, leading to another pool and chokestone and then a deeper flooded channel with a low bench to one side. After here, the watercourse widens; bushes, trees and boulders line the creek, and a faint path follows one or both sides. The ravine remains similar for about 2 miles, with a few more brief enclosed stretches, until the rocks become grey-white rather than red, the drainage splits several times, and becomes shallower.