The Vortex/Cowboy Pools

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Also known as the bowl, this hike is near Lower Sand Cove and Gunlock. You will see beautiful wild flowers, and unique sandstone mountains.

Getting there:

From Ivins/Mesquite (my preferred route) Travel from highway 91 until you hit the Gunlock turn off. Drive straight. There is a turnoff located just south of the bridge over the Santa Clara River at the south end of the town of Gunlock. It breaks off from the east side of the Gunlock Road and makes a steep climb up a hill. Once on top, the road heads generally eastward past Lower Sand Cove Reservoir to the south. After passing the reservoir, the road turns south and then sharply east as it crosses a canal. Immediately after crossing the canal there is a sign for the Lower Sand Cove Trailhead. Turn right (south) here and proceed to the trailhead.

You can also get there from the Dammeron Valley/St George area. From St George, head north on HWY 18 towards Dammeron Valley. Turn left on Bluff St. Reset your odometer and drive 3.7 miles to the signed Lower Sand Cove parking area on your left. This is a dirt road, but mild.

Parking lot Coordinates: N37.2799 W113.73835

Distance: 2.5 miles of easy, steady climbing.

Word of Warning

The Vortex is a little difficult to find. I didn’t actually find them the first time I hiked it. Luckily my husband has the best sense of direction and memory of anyone I know, so he led me there. I recommend reading a number of blogs or articles about this hike because all of us use different descriptions and some might be easier to understand one than the other. There is also no trail once you start climbing the sandstone mountains.

I also strongly recommend using google maps if your carrier has service, as it’s easier to get a realistic bird’s eye view of where you are going. The image below is Google Earth. Once you cross the wash, you’ll be able to see the exact route you need to go,

You’ll run into the cowboy pools on this hike as you are scrambling up the sandstone. Keep in mind that the pools may not always have water in them. You’ll see in these photos that some are full and some are dried up. That’s because it was different times of year that I hiked it.

There are actually 2 different vortex formations that you’ll come across.

Once you see the Vortex, don’t stop there! Explore everywhere. There’s so much to see and awesome views!!

This little gem of an area was an awesome find the last time I was there. Stacked rocks everywhere and an awesome view. My parents legitimately hunt for Bigfoot…no, I’m not joking….and they claim that stacked rocks are a sign that Bigfoot has been there. So, if you’re about that life, there’s that. That could actually be a great blog post, now that I think about it.

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