Danish Ranch Road (Forest Service Road 31)

Danish Ranch Road (Forest Service Road 31)

Drive

Drive

This drive is one of the hidden gems of Southern Utah. Appropriate for just about any vehicle as long as there hasn't been any rain recently, this dirt road winds through a wide variety of amazing scenery. As the access road to Yant Flat, Yankee Doodle, and Big Hollow. While the overall elevation change isn't particularly significant, there are some steep portions that introduce some awesome views.

 
Elevation Range:   1200 ft
Low Elevation:   4200 ft
High Elevation:   5400 ft
Distance:   14.0 miles
Area:   Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness Area
Cost:   Free
Rating:    (4.0)
Aerobic Intensity:    (0.0)
Technical Difficulty:    (2.0)
Scenery:    (4.0)
  1 ratings
Last Edited: Dec 22, 2016

 Guide

Danish Ranch Road is a great scenic backway that connects Leeds (via the Oak Grove Road) to Washington/St. George (via Cottonwood Springs Road).  The road is dirt and gravel only, with varying degrees of improvement along different portions of the road.  It's not uncommon to see a minivan driving along the road - but for the sake of caution a higher-clearance vehicle is reccomended especially after any rain that might have left the road rutted.

The road can be enjoyed both from the direction of St. George towards Leeds, or in reverse from Leeds toward St. George - although this guide focuses on the Leeds to St. George approach.

From Leeds head west, up towards Pine Valley Mountain on Oak Grove Road.  The road will come to a distinctive Y after approximately 2 miles; follow the sign to the left toward St. George, this is where Danish Ranch Road actually starts.

The road travels upward quickly in the first couple miles.  Take it slow, and look around you - great scenery can be seen in front of you, behind, and to the side.

The first notable landmark you come to will be the Danish Ranch itself.  It has the only significant structure visible along the entire length of the road, the ranch house centered in the property.  You will see pastures with cows and horses, and an amazing "tree tunnel" where matures trees and shrubs come together to grow over the road; for perhaps 50 yards, it feels like you have been transported out of the Utah desert and into some european scenery.

After several more miles, the next distinctive sight will be the top of Big Hollow Canyon.  The road snakes right through the top of it, and then a mile later gives you some great views into the amazing canyon and the incredible view.  Make sure to park the vehicle for a few minutes and walk to the edge to get a direct view.

Although not directly visible, the road then passes through the Yant Flat area, and a short hike of about a mile will take you to see the candy cliffs.

From there, the rest of the road goes up and around various peaks and ridges, prividing great scenery ever bit of the way.  After leaving the National Forest area, the road drops into Red Cliffs Desert Reserve on the way back to St. George.

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 Getting There

From Leeds to St. George

  • Take Main Street to the north end of the town
  • Make a left on Silver Reef Road, quickly going under the freeway
  • Keep traveling west through Leeds
  • At about 1.5 miles, the road will turn to gravel and cross the creek
  • After about 1.5 more miles, the road will fork.  Stay left, following the sign pointing to St. George

From St. George to Leeds

  • On I-15, take the St. George Blvd exit (#8) and go West.
  • Take the first right after the overpass, onto 1000 East
  • Take a right at the stop light, onto Red Hills Pkwy
  • Take a left after 1.1 miles onto Cottonwood Springs Rd
  • Follow this road North for several miles until it crosses over into National Forest Land, and beomes Danish Ranch Road.

 

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