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Greatest Hikes in Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park close to St. George, Utah is a gem crammed with hovering multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, lava flows, and canyons together with a various array of vegetation and animals together with 14 delicate species. Snow Canyon is just not almost as widespread as well-known Zion Nationwide Park – the place everybody seemingly heads for, however a couple of of the hikes listed below are mind-blowing. Described are a choice of one of the best hikes in Snow Canyon – a few of which you’ll be able to knock off in half-hour to an hour. Hike at the very least a few them for those who’re anyplace close to the realm.

There are a complete of 19 mountaineering trails within the park masking 38 miles. Though many are brief and family-friendly, they nonetheless have broad attraction. The most effective hikes in Snow Canyon we did was the Petrified Dunes path. In the event you solely do one hike, make it this one! 

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Greatest hikes in Snow Canyon State Park abstract

  • Utah residents pay $10 per automobile with as much as 8 individuals to go to the park. In the event you’re a senior (65+) it’s $5 per automobile. A gaggle of as much as 4 pedestrians or cyclists pay $5.
  • In the event you’re a non-resident it’s $15 per automobile with as much as eight individuals to enter and $5 for as much as 4 cyclists or pedestrians.
  • Canines are solely permitted on leash on West Canyon Street, Whiptail Path, and on all of the Paradise Canyon trails. Don’t convey them on sizzling days!
  • Watch out for seasonal closures – cue the Johnson Canyon path.
  • Carry a minimal of 1 litre of water per particular person, double that for those who’re planning to be out all day.
  • Inform somebody the place you’re going.
  • The very best hikes in Snow Canyon embody the Petrified Dunes Path, Butterfly Path, Jenny’s Canyon Path, Whiterocks Amphitheater Path, Johnson Canyon Path, and the Lava Movement Path. 
  • Permit a minimal of a day and ideally two days so you’ll be able to expertise the total great thing about Snow Canyon State Park.

The place is Snow Canyon State Park?

Snow Canyon State Park is a 7,400 acre park tucked into the 62,000-acre Purple Cliffs Desert Reserve. It’s a couple of 15-minute drive north of St. George in southwest Utah. This great thing about a park, crammed with purple and white sandstone cliffs, volcanic cinder cones, burnt orange to creamy white petrified sand dunes, and lava capped ridges will attraction to youngsters and adults of all ages together with cyclists, hikers, nature lovers, horseback riders, and photographers. 

Hollywood additionally loves the park. Bear in mind Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Child? A few of it was filmed right here together with The Electrical Horseman and Jeremiah Johnson.

Enjoyable reality: The park got here into existence in 1959 as Dixie State Park however was later renamed Snow Canyon State Park. The names don’t confer with the fluffy white stuff which the park doesn’t see fairly often, however to outstanding Utah political and non secular leaders, Lorenzo Snow and Erastus Snow. 

Location map


Greatest hikes in Snow Canyon – Whiterocks Amphitheater hike

Distance: Both 2 miles return with an elevation achieve of 125 ft or about 5.5 miles return with 500 ft of elevation achieve for those who take off from the Lava Movement path

Stage of issue: Straightforward from the car parking zone; average for those who’re doing an out and again from Lava Movement path

Time wanted: About an hour for those who hike in from the car parking zone described under or 3 – 4 hours to do an out and again from the Lava Movement path

Trailhead: One half mile north of the Snow Canyon Drive/State Route 18 Junction or on the signed intersection on the Lava Movement Path

Hike description:

The Whiterocks Amphitheater hike is a wonderful alternative, irrespective of the way you hike it. It’s brief, candy, and family-friendly (however not stroller-friendly) for those who hike in from the car parking zone beside the freeway. 

The path results in a beautiful, very white, sandstone amphitheater surrounded by hovering sandstone peaks. There’s numerous enjoyable strolling on the rocks available, particularly because the sandstone affords numerous traction so you’ll be able to sort out steeper sections of this space safely (although you need to at all times use frequent sense.) There’s additionally a whole lot of white sand that children may wish to play in on the base of the amphitheater.

You too can attain the Whiterocks Amphitheater by way of the Lava Movement Path. We had been very tempted to do the out and again hike however with solely a day within the park we opted for the shorter model. Search for a path intersection simply previous the lava tubes. It heads off north after which northeast. Ultimately you’ll need to switchback up a steep slope between a few sandstone outcroppings. You meet up with the path coming from the car parking zone and proceed west on an unmarked however apparent path to the amphitheater. 

Heading up to the White Rock Amphitheater
Heading as much as the White Rock Amphitheater
Beautiful easy walking on the sandstone
Lovely straightforward strolling on the sandstone
Almost blindingly white in the Whiterocks Amphitheater
Virtually blindingly white within the Whiterocks Path Amphitheater
The view across to State Highway 18
The view throughout to State Freeway 18 on the best way pack to the trailhead

Lava Movement hike

Distance: 2.5 miles round-trip

Stage of issue: Straightforward to average relying on how usually you hike; numerous uneven surfaces

Time wanted: 1 – 2 hours relying on for those who discover the lava tubes and whether or not you climb as much as the lookout

Trailhead location: The trailhead is the primary one you come to as you drive south from the park entrance off State Freeway 18.

Hike description:

The Lava Movement path isn’t as dramatic as among the different finest hikes in Snow Canyon, however it makes up for it by offering some distinctive experiences together with a go to into the guts of a lava tube. Try my Instagram reel exhibiting what it’s wish to hike down into the lava tube. 

The hike begins with an excellent view into the guts of the park. From there the path winds via a lava subject rife with sharp rocks and continues previous three lava tubes – one in every of which is extra cave like that you could enter at your individual danger. Alongside the best way there are a number of interpretive panels that specify concerning the formation of the lava tubes. 

Do you know that about 27,000 years in the past lava erupted from a close-by however now extinct volcano? A lava tube shaped when the floor of the flowing lava cooled and hardened to a strong crust, however under it, the molten lava continued to stream. Because it was on a slope, the lava ultimately drained out completely leaving the lava tubes you see right this moment. Among the lava tubes are utterly collapsed however you’ll be able to enter the one proven in my reel.

In the event you enterprise into the lava tube, take a flashlight and assuming you’re entering into for a fast look, go away your backpack on the floor because it will get cramped entering into the tube. In the event you’ve bought good garments on that tear simply, you may wish to give it a move. I went down into the lava tube cave only a brief distance – and wasn’t considering crawling into smaller areas. I wouldn’t advocate this for teenagers.

In the event you proceed on the Lava Movement path, you’ll move the intersection to the Whiterocks Amphitheatre after which the Butterfly Path. There’s an overlook for those who hold going that’s well worth the climb. 

Starting out on the Lave Flow trail
Beginning out on the Lava Movement path
You'll find interpretive signage along the trail
You’ll discover interpretive signage alongside the path
Getting into a lot of lava - no place for sandals with all the sharp rocks
Stepping into a whole lot of lava – no place for sandals with all of the sharp rocks; the tube you’ll be able to enter is to the appropriate of the interpretive panel
John at the top of the lava tubes
John on the prime of the lava tubes
Great views from the lookout off the Lava Flow trail
Nice views from the lookout off the Lava Movement path – word the lava tube in black in the appropriate of the photograph
Looking up at the lookout of the Lava Flow Trail from West Canyon Road
Wanting up on the lookout of the Lava Movement Path from West Canyon Street

Petrified Dunes Path

Distance: 1.2 miles spherical journey

Stage of issue: Straightforward

Time wanted: As much as an hour as it is a enjoyable space to discover

Trailhead location: Both entry it from the Butterfly Path or by way of brief stroll from the car parking zone 

Hike description:

The Petrified Dunes path is thoughts blowing. From the car parking zone or the Butterfly Path, hike a sandy path that results in unbelievable rolling mounds of petrified Navajo sandstone. Among the dunes right here, shaped greater than 183 million years in the past, are 2,500 ft thick! For the subsequent 30 – 60 minutes, discover the sandstone formations and climb to the highest of one in every of them for very good views into the guts of Snow Canyon State Park. Views are breathtaking.

This path is one that’s made for exploring. Whenever you’re completed, both retrace your steps to the car parking zone or head down as we did to the West Canyon Street and again to the Lava Movement path. In the event you can, time your go to for sundown. What a spot to sit down again and watch the solar set over the multi-coloured canyons.

Heading for the Petrified Dunes Trail
Heading for the Petrified Dunes Path
Easy walking on this section of the Petrified Dunes trail
Straightforward strolling on this part of the Petrified Dunes path
Simply glorious hiking on the Petrified Dunes trail
Merely wonderful mountaineering on the Petrified Dunes path
One of the best hikes in Snow Canyon State Park is this Petrified Dunes trail
The most effective hikes in Snow Canyon State Park is that this Petrified Dunes path
Look at the texture in the rocks!
Have a look at the feel within the rocks!
Fantastic layering of the dunes
Improbable layering of the dunes
This is a fun section to explore
It is a enjoyable part to discover
Quite the contrast between the black lave and the burnt orange sandstone
Fairly the distinction between the black lave and the burnt orange sandstone
Continuing from the Petrified Dunes down to West Canyon Road
Persevering with from the Petrified Dunes right down to West Canyon Street – after which again to the Lava Movement Path and the car parking zone

Butterfly Path

Distance: 2 miles round-trip

Stage of issue: Straightforward

Time wanted: 45 minutes to an hour

Trailhead location: Park on the identical car parking zone used for the Petrified Dunes path or choose up the Butterfly Path from the Lava Movement Path

Hike description:

I believe most guests to the park contemplate the Butterfly Path solely as a connector path, however it’s a stand-alone magnificence and top-of-the-line hikes in Snow Canyon for my part. We got here on the path from the Lava Movement path – and had it to ourselves. As we hiked alongside the size of an enormous, petrified dune, John and I couldn’t assist however marvel in any respect the sand layers frozen in time. On the finish of the path near the intersection with the Petrified Dunes path, we climbed one other dune for a incredible view again to the Lava Movement path and past. It was the kind of mountaineering that makes you grin from ear to ear. 

Walking the Butterfly Trail in the morning before the sun has warmed it
Strolling the Butterfly Path within the morning earlier than the solar has warmed it
A lovely section and what a view from the Butterfly Trail
Wanting right down to a big petrified dune beside the Butterfly Path
Magnificent hiking on the rocks by the Butterfly Trail
Magnificent mountaineering on the rocks by the Butterfly Path

Johnson Canyon hike, Snow Canyon State Park

Distance: 2 miles return

Stage of issue: Straightforward

Time wanted: One hour or much less

Trailhead location: The trailhead is a brief distance earlier than the southern park entrance on the primary highway via Snow Canyon State Park.

Necessary: The canyon is closed yearly from March 15 – September 14 to protect endangered habitat.

Hike description: The Johnson Canyon is one other winner of a hike for the entire household. Head throughout the road from the parking space to begin the hike. From the path you’ll look down at remnants of a lava stream and a dry stream mattress. Proceed strolling because it takes you left and into the canyon. Observe the spring barely flowing right down to the appropriate.

One of many highlights is the purple sandstone arch spanning 200 ft. It took a couple of tries earlier than my husband noticed it, because it blends so effectively into the panorama. Proceed to the tip of the canyon the place there are some lovely massive bushes. With all of the shade, it’s the proper place to cease, sit, and admire the hovering canyon partitions. After a break or a picnic retrace your steps. 

The Johnson Canyon hike shares a trailhead with several other hikes
The Johnson Canyon hike shares a trailhead with a number of different hikes
Easy walking through red rock
Straightforward strolling via purple rock
Beautiful hiking on redder than red rock on the way to Johnson Canyon
Lovely mountaineering on redder than purple rock on the best way to Johnson Canyon
The arch spanning 200 feet is one of the highlights of the hike
The arch spanning 200 ft is likely one of the highlights of the hike

Jenny’s Canyon hike

Distance: 0.5 miles round-trip

Stage of issue: Straightforward and family-friendly however not stroller-friendly

Time wanted: half-hour

Hike description: It’s a family-friendly hike up and into Jenny’s Canyon – a brief however sculpted slot canyon. There’s an choice to do a fast add-on to an overlook the place you’ll be able to view the Snow Canyon Sand Dunes.

The path follows an apparent path via a dry wash. Proceed left round a rock that appears like a head with a giant eye and into the canyon. Stroll to the tip of the slot canyon, trying as much as marvel on the top of the canyon partitions.

Starting out for Jenny's Canyon
Beginning out for Jenny’s Canyon
Heading for Jenny's Canyon on the left
Heading for Jenny’s Canyon on the left
A short but cool canyon to explore
A brief however cool canyon to discover – don’t neglect to search for
The late afternoon light in Jenny's Canyon is harsh
The late afternoon mild in Jenny’s Canyon is harsh

Extra issues to do in Snow Canyon State Park if in case you have time

Whenever you drive via Snow Canyon State Park, you’ll probably see a whole lot of mountain bikers. We had been handed by a number of as we hiked West Canyon Street, however they’re additionally allowed on the Paradise Canyon Trails, and the Whiptail Path. You may simply lease mountain bikes and ebikes for those who’re visiting from out of city.

There are over 170 designated sport climbing routes in Snow Canyon State Park. Have the appropriate gear and know-how earlier than you go mountain climbing.

There’s horseback driving within the state park too. A ranger may give you a map exhibiting all the paths. Among the trails take you to beautiful overlooks into the canyon the place you’ll be mesmerized by the distinction of black lava flows and purple and white Navajo sandstone.

The place to remain close to Snow Canyon State Park

We stayed on the Inn on the Cliff in St. George. It’s solely a 20-minute drive away from the park. Each John and I cherished the place with the views out over the town from our bed room – and the new tub. Breakfast comes with the room too. On hotter days you’d have the ability to sit outdoors and revel in it in your balcony.

There’s additionally the choice to camp on a year-round foundation in Snow Canyon State Park. There are 32 campsites, some with hook-ups and water. Costs begin at $40 per night time. Make a reservation on-line via the Utah State Parks hyperlink

You too can take a look at the Free Campsites web site for concepts on the place to remain.

Breakfast with a view at Inn on the Cliff
Breakfast with a view at Inn on the Cliff

Remaining ideas

Snow Canyon State Park ought to be on the radar of anybody visiting southern Utah. It surpassed all expectations. Thanks to Go to Utah for internet hosting me, however belief me, these opinions are mine alone. I’m an enormous fan of the hikes I described and I can say that John and I had been in our component and so blissful to be right here!

Additional studying on issues to do in Utah

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Best hikes in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah



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