Snow Canyon State Park was a place I had really never heard of. I was looking for camping options near St. George and stumbled upon Snow Canyon Hikes that looked so beautiful. The camping there is some of the best I have ever experienced at a State Park. Lava flows mixed with sandstone cliffs and vibrant oranges and reds. And I never thought I’d see a petrified sand dune until visiting here! Snow Canyon State Park is truly an underrated gem that I highly recommend checking out on your next Utah Trip.
- About Snow Canyon State Park:
- Getting to the Snow Canyon Hikes:
- 5 Best Snow Canyon Hikes
- 1. Petrified Sand Dunes
- 2. Butterfly Trail
- 3. Jenny's Canyon (Slot Canyon!!)
- 4. Bike West Canyon Road
- 5. Snow Canyon Scenic Overlook
- Optional Add On Trail: Padre Canyon
- Know Before You Go: Snow Canyon Hikes
- Where to Stay?
- Nearby Adventures:
- Other Resources:
- Summary: Snow Canyon Hikes
Land Acknowledgement: Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) and Pueblos Land. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting! Consider visiting nearby cultural centers and seeking out other ways to financially support Indigenous People.
About Snow Canyon State Park:
Snow Canyon State Park is about 7,400 acres located within the 62,000 acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The reserve was established to protect the desert tortoise! I wish I would have been able to see one on our visit here.
Snow Canyon Hikes are plentiful with over 38 miles of hiking trails! And what is even more wild is there is history of humans here dating back to 500 B.C.
Getting to the Snow Canyon Hikes:
Snow Canyon State Park is about 20 minutes outside of St. George Utah. And whether you are camping or making St. George your adventure-base, you can’t go wrong. I really liked that I could enjoy camping, but also drive a short distance to a city with lots of food, drinks and amenities.
Snow Canyon State Park is really one made up of one road. So, this park is easy to navigate!
If you are flying in, Las Vegas is definitely the closest large airport only 2 hours away. St George also has a regional airport you could consider.
This is not a park that has a lot of public transportation offered. I would recommend renting a car for this trip! Any vehicle will work for visiting Snow Canyon. Although, there are a lot of 4WD roads nearby that you may want to explore if you have time!
5 Best Snow Canyon Hikes
1. Petrified Sand Dunes
The Petrified Dunes hike was the first hike we did in Snow Canyon. And it really set the tone with it’s sweeping views and layers of sandstone and lava. We hiked the Hidden Pinyon Trail to get there, as it was closest to our campground.
The hike is about 1.2 miles and considered moderate. I downloaded the AllTrails maps for this trail and was glad I did. There are multiple trails that intersect and are not very well marked. And at times, while traversing the petrified dunes, it was hard to see the next marker!
But this hike truly gave me such a good overview of the landscape and what this place is all about. I loved that this hike had variety in landscape, colors and plant life. If you have to pick only one of the Snow Canyon Hikes, this is it!
2. Butterfly Trail
Butterfly trail was highly recommended to us by the ranger at the visitor center. You can access it from it’s own parking lot or continue from Petrified Sand Dunes trail since they intersect. It is best known for winding along the petrified dunes and leads to several overlooks and lava tubes! We didn’t make it to the Lava Tubes, but I’d love to go back and check that out.
Note: Most of these trails do not have shade. Come prepared with water (1 liter per person!) and plenty of sun protection (UV clothing, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses).
3. Jenny’s Canyon (Slot Canyon!!)
Jenny’s Canyon is very popular and for good reason. It is a very short and easy trail. The trail is about 0.5 miles and is relatively level the whole time. I love a slot canyon. And I’m quite annoyed that I did not actually get to hike this one due to a mouse situation in our van (long story haha). But I absolutely want to go back and the photos are stunning!
Tip: this is a good one to do if you arrive mid day when the sun is hottest! The slot canyon will provide some shade and you don’t have to go far for great views.
4. Bike West Canyon Road
The Ranger recommended this one to us after we let them know we had bikes and wanted have a quieter experience with less people. West Canyon Road is an 8 mile, easy, gravel road that winds past washes and the towering red cliffs of Snow Canyon. If you didn’t bring a bike, but want to experience the full road by bike, consider renting bikes from Red Rock Bicycle Co. for about $60. Check with the visitor center to see if E-bikes are allowed before renting one!
If you’re not wanting to bike, hiking in as far as you want would still be an incredible, peaceful experience.
Note: There is actually a really nice paved bike trail that goes into town! Other biking trails in Snow Canyon include: the Whiptail Trail and all Paradise Canyon Trails.
5. Snow Canyon Scenic Overlook
Okay, so not a hike, but absolutely worth a stop. Google Maps took us right there when searching for “snow canyon scenic overlook”. It’s around the other side of the park and gives an incredible view down into the park from above. It’s a lovely place to watch sunrise or sunset!
Optional Add On Trail: Padre Canyon
Just outside of Snow Canyon is Padre Canyon. Padre Canyon via the Tuacahn Trail is about 3 miles and 744 feet of elevation gain. This trail has been recommended by many and is absolutely on my list for next time.
Know Before You Go: Snow Canyon Hikes
Snow Canyon State Park does require a per day fee. It is $15 a day per vehicle. If you are camping, you will head to the visitor center where you’ll obtain your pass included with your camping stay.
Camping is $40 per night. We had such a nice camping spot with so much privacy. We even had our own bridge over a stream that backed right up to the canyon. HIGHLY recommend spending a night here.
Parking lots are pretty small here. I’d recommend either getting to the trails early or parking at the visitor center and walking to the trail head. Most of the trails are connected from the trail that starts across the street from the visitor center. It would just add on some walking mileage.
Bring 1 Liter of water per person as a minimum. Especially if you’re coming during the summer months. Temperatures get HOT here, typically in the 90 degree to 100 degree range in Fahrenheit.
Avoid hiking at the hottest times of day! There is not much shade in Snow Canyon State Park.
Leave No Trace:
Pack out all your fruit peels, nut shells, wrappers, toilet paper, etc! Always respect the land and leave it better than you found it. With history of the place dating back to 500 B.C., please be respectful and do not carve into any rocks or remove anything from nature.
And you may encounter a tortoise! How lucky if you do! Be sure to keep your distance and do not disturb the wildlife.
Pets are only allowed in the campground, West Canyon Road, Whiptail Trail and Paradise Canyon and must be on a leash.
Where to Stay?
Snow Canyon Campground:
Bet you’re not surprised to hear me recommend the campground at Snow Canyon AGAIN. I made reservations online here. But really did not need to since I went in February! The weather was actually SO nice in February. We had sunshine and about 60 degree weather during the day. But the nights were definitely chilly. If you are going during the busy months, I highly recommend reserving far in advance
- $40/per night
- campsite 22 has SO much privacy and wonderful views
- Showers available
St. George is only 20 minutes away and has loads of hotels and airbnbs. I recently stayed at an airbnb with a group of women that was so nice as a home base for our adventures:
Booking.com has quite a few rentals for larger groups that are worth checking out! I find that Airbnb fees have gotten so steep that I’ve been booking through them more and more.
If you’re wanting a getaway stay, Check out Inn on the Cliff!
Food and Drink Recommendations:
- George’s Corner Restaurant: we went TWICE. They have great variety, indoor and outdoor seating and great drinks.
- Station 2 By Zion Brewery: This brewery has a resident cat that is SO cute! A great place to chill with a beer.
- Banana Blossom Thai: We were so tired after a full day of adventures and ordered take out from here. It was delicious and huge portions of food
If you’re looking for more destinations to check out during your time here, Zion National Park is an easy day trip! Check out my Guide for One Day in Zion National Park.
For more Utah Adventures check out these guides:
If you’re interested in my most used camera gear:
Summary: Snow Canyon Hikes
Clearly Snow Canyon State Park in Utah has a lot to see and is probably a place you haven’t heard a whole lot about! It is truly an underrated State Park and I would absolutely go back a third time. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Best Views in Snow Canyon State Park:
- Petrified Sand Dunes Trail
- Butterfly Trail
- Jenny’s Canyon Trail
- Snow Canyon Scenic Overlook
- West Canyon Road Trail
Let me know if you’ve been here or if you’ve never heard of it and it’s on your radar now!
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