Things to Do and See at Snow Canyon
Snow Canyon is a gorgeous red rock canyon located in southern Utah just a few minutes northwest of St. George.
Explore Snow Canyon's trails and sand dunes on horseback, bicycle, and on foot. Snow Canyon State Park. Take the family camping in the campgrounds, whish are flanked by gorgeous ancient lava flows and red Navajo sandstone. Discover the secrets of the desert landscape through seasonal nature programs.
Snow Canyon State Park comprises over 7,400 acres which is tucked away peacefully within flows of lava and cliffs of sandstone that soar with striking color in a fragile desert ecosystem. Take in the majestic vistas and subtle orchestra of light, shadow, and color dancing across canyon walls evoke strong emotional responses from visitors.
The park is located in the 62,000 acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, established to protect the federally listed desert tortoise and its habitat. There are endless outdoor recreational opportunities for outdoorsy people of any age or skill level. Whether you enjoy nature observation, wildlife sightings, photography, ranger talks, camping, hiking, or biking, you will find so many fun activities to see and do at Snow Canyon. You can hike and never see it all; there are over 38 miles of trails, with a three-mile paved walking/biking trail, and over 15 miles of equestrian trails.
Hiking Trails within Snow Canyon to Explore
White Rocks Trail and Lava Flow Overlook - 4 miles (6.4 km). Moderate. Some rocky slopes, uneven surfaces. Passing through lava flows, juniper stands and breathtaking views of West Canyon, trail leads to a natural amphitheater set in white sandstone. Or reach the amphitheater on a 1-mile (1.6 km) trail located one-half mile north of State Route 18 junction.
Johnson Canyon Trail - (Open November 15 - March 1 only), 2 miles. Easy. Level with some rocky slopes and steps. Boasting the only riparian area in the park, this trail winds through lava flows and red rock to an arch spanning 200 feet (61 m).
Whiptail Trail - 6 miles. Easy. Level with some slopes. Accessible to physically challenged. Tucked along the canyon bottom, this sinuous paved trail is suitable for hiking, jogging, biking and rollerblading.
Jenny's Canyon Trail - (Closed March 31 to June 1) - 1/2 mile. Easy, level with few slopes and steps. Trail leads to a narrow, sculpted canyon then splits with rock stair steps to offer a scenic overlook.
West Canyon Road Trail - 7 miles. Easy. Gravel and sand surface. Fairly level. Trail follows a maintenance road winding past washes and towering cliffs to the mouth of present-day Snow Canyon.
Sand Dunes Trail - 1/2 mile. Easy. Deep sand with some slopes. Trail leads to a large expanse of red sand that is an excellent play area for children of all ages.
Pioneer Names Trail - 1/2 mile. Easy. Fairly level with some steps and slopes. This crescent-shaped trail passes pioneer names written in axle grease, dating back to 1883.
Butterfly Trail - 2 miles. Moderate. Some steep slopes, steps and uneven surfaces. Winding along the west side of Petrified Dunes, this trail leads to West Canyon Overlook and lava tubes.
Hidden Pinyon Trail - 1.5 miles. Moderate. Rocky slopes. Drop-offs. This self-guided nature trail introduces geological features and native plants of the park.
Petrified Dunes Trail - 1-mile. Moderate. Some steep slopes, uneven surfaces. This trail crosses massive sandstone outcrops where you may explore sand dunes frozen in time.
Three Ponds Trail - 3.5 miles. Moderate. Some rocky slopes. Deep sand. Trail winds through sandy washes to mouth of a 400-foot (120 m) canyon. Potholes eroded in sandstone catch seasonal rain, giving the trail its name.
History of Snow Canyon
Snow Canyon was established in 1959 and has a lot of history. Many years ago, the Anasazi Indians inhabited the region from 200 A.D. to 1250, and used the canyon for hunting and being together. Paiute Indians used the canyon from 1200 A.D. to the mid-1800s. In the 1850's, the Mormon pioneers discovered Snow Canyon while as they were on teh search for lost herds of cattle. Many Hollywood films have chosen Snow Canyon as their preferred site including; The Electric Horseman, Jeremiah Johnson, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It was originally called Dixie State Park, it was later renamed for Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, prominent pioneering Utah leaders.
Opened to the public as a state park in 1962.
Park Elevation: 3,100 to 4,100 feet
Red Rock Marvel
This red rock wonderland has been evolving for over 1.4 million years. The Navajo sandstone is the predominant rock in the park, and is all that exists of the ancient desert sand sea. This sandstone is a burnt orange to creamy white in color. Over time, water has cut and shaped the sandstone to form canyons. Approximately 1.4 million years ago, and as recently as 27,000 years ago, nearby cinder cones erupted, causing lava to flow down these canyons, filling them with basalt. This redirected ancient waterways, eventually carving new canyons. Look up to see lava-capped ridges that were once canyon bottoms. Removal of rocks and minerals is prohibited.