Little Grand Canyon

by Anna Gimilaro

It was spring break of my senior year which means I had to do something special, as special as anything can be during quarantine. So the choice was obvious: a day trip to the Little Grand Canyon, formally known as Red Bluff. I rallied my roommates, curated a simple packing list (water bottle, sneakers, sunscreen, bug spray, personal snacks) and loaded up my Kia Soul.

I didn’t know much about Red Bluff before going which added to the excitement of the trip. This destination was introduced to Outdoor Adventures by a beloved Alum, Steven Stradley, but it had always been unclear if this was a space to hike or simply a vista. We were prepared for either!

After two hours of a fairly riveting drive across the Causeway and through lush, winding country roads, we arrived and were immediately stunned by the dramatic view. After months without leaving New Orleans, any elevation is surreal, but a deep crevice bursting with earthy colors at 371 feet above sea level is truly special.

Red Bluff is inviting, offering many nooks and crannies to play in, explore, and examine. Carved by the Pearl River, the bluff’s variety in sand color and formation must be interesting to geologists who can study its red clay, sand, cool pebbles, and soil. The canyon feeds into a stream in a wooded area that leads to the river. This stream provides a brief water hike (about one mile) that is very similar to our famous Tunica Falls Day Hike but lined with bright red, pink, and violet colors.

The biggest drawback of this hiking area is the amount of litter. The seven Leave No Trace Principles, which deal with minimizing human impact on nature, are important in Tulane Outdoor Adventures’ education efforts. These principles emphasize the proper disposal of waste which involves carrying out your own waste as well as other waste found along the trail. Unfortunately, cleaning out all the waste from Red Bluff would require a dumpster.

Aside from the trash, it was a beautiful day and a much-needed, socially-distant escape from my house.

About the Author
Anna Gimilaro