Red Canyon’s History in the Wild West

If you are a history or movie buff, you are bound to find enjoyment in visiting the Red Canyon. Red Canyon is located along Scenic Byway 12, only 17 miles from Bryce Valley Lodging. Filled with geological riches, wild-west history, and free from the large number of tourists who visit Bryce Canyon National Park. Red Canyon is a  stop you won’t want to miss. While exploring Red Canyon, you can enjoy the beauty of hoodoos and untouched trails that follow in the footsteps of one of Utah’s most notorious outlaws.

Inside the Red Canyon

Butch Cassidy and The Wild Bunch

Raised in Circleville, Utah’s Robert LeRoy Parker became one of the most notorious outlaws of Utah’s wild west. You might know him better as Butch Cassidy and his gang of criminals known as the “Wild Bunch.” Raised just an hour outside of Bryce Canyon, Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch often hid out in Utah’s entangled maze of canyons, in and around Bryce Canyon. Butch Cassidy and his gang were most well known for stealing horses, rustling cattle, and robbing banks and trains.

The Wild Bunch gang included Harry Longabaugh aka “The Sundance Kid,” Ben Kilpatrick aka “The Tall Texan,” William Elsworth Lay aka “Elzy,” and  Harvey Logan aka “Kid Curry,” to name a few. However, this gang wasn’t just rough and tough cowboys. The Wild Bunch Gang also included a few rough and tough women which included Etta Place, Laura Bullion, Annie Rogers, and the outlaw sisters Anne and Josie Basset.  Etta Place was romantically involved with The Sundance Kid and followed him and Butch Cassidy to Bolivia. 

Horseback Riding Inside the Red Canyon

The Alleged Death of The Wild Bunch

Much of the history surrounding Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid travels to Bolivia remains a mystery to this day. On some accounts, it is believed the two outlaws robbed payroll that was in transport from the Aramayo mine. 

Later when the outlaws came to San Vicente, Bolivia the villagers became convinced that these strangers were part of the robbery. The Bolivian soldiers were called in and the outlaws were gunned down in a shootout and their bodies were buried in San Vincente cemetery. However, in the late 20th century, the bodies were exhumed and it was determined they weren’t the two American outlaws. 

After the outlaw’s supposed deaths in Bolivia, there were many reports that the two men returned to the United States where they lived for many years under aliases. As for Etta Place, there are reports she left Bolivia and was seen in San Fransico but then disappeared. To this day what really happened to them remains a mystery. 

Red Canyon’s Cassidy Trail

Get a taste of what it was like to be an outlaw in the wild west by exploring Cassidy Trail located in Red Canyon. This trail was a frequent getaway path as Cassidy and his gang avoided the posses chasing after them. This beautiful hike takes you through a miniature version of Bryce Canyon and can be ridden on horseback from some of the local trail guides in the area. This trail was also one of the filming areas for the Academy Award-winning 1969 movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Rich with history Red Canyon is the place to stop to enjoy the scenic beauty of the old west as you visit the Bryce Canyon area. 

Horseback Riding in The Red Canyon

Looking for more interesting places as you explore Southern Utah? Check out the Ghost Town of Grafton, UT, and Snow Canyon both were filming locations for the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and can be seen in a day trip from Bryce Valley Lodging. To learn more about our rentals, visit our website. We are happy to help plan your stay, so please contact us with any questions you may have. 

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