Southern Utah is an outdoor lover’s paradise with adventures for everyone. Whether you’re wanting to slide into a tight slot canyon, find a waterfall amidst a desert oasis, scale sandstone cliffs or explore Dr. Seuss-like rock formations this part of the state has it all. While there’s no shortage of “epic” when it comes to hikes in Southern Utah, finding the right ones that you can take your kiddos on can be a little more of a challenge.
I have put together a list of my favorite adventure filled hikes in the Hurricane/Saint George area that are family-friendly and bonus, these hikes (except Kannara Falls) are accessible year round!
Kanarra Falls - Kanarraville, UT (Advanced)
A stunning slot canyon where you climb a ladder in the midst of a magical waterfall. Yes, please! This trail is 4.4 miles round trip and about as photogenic as they come with vibrant green trees and stunning slot canyons that will leave you speechless. There is a decent amount of rock scrambling and the beginning of the trail is a bit boring but keep going, it's worth it! If you can make it to the first slot canyon (about 1.5 miles in) with the kiddos I call that a win!
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Red Reef Trail - Red Cliffs National Reserve (Beginner)
This trail is a fan favorite. I take just about anyone who comes to visit me with kids on this trail.....true story! It is a short 3-mile round trip hike with very little elevation gain, lots of cool spots for playing and exploring along the trail and the rock climbing rope area near the end makes you feel truly adventurous. If you choose to climb the rocks to the upper section with a small child on your back I recommend using a soft carrier. This will keep your center of gravity more even. Visit in the spring and you will get to see the stream of water running, making for pools to swim and jump in.
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Confluence Trail - Hurricane/La Verkin UT (Intermediate/Begginer)
There are so many options for exploration and learning with this scenic trail that goes along the Virgin River, tucked between Hurricane and La Verkin. The park has 3 different starting points and over 4 miles of trails to explore. A nearly 100 year-old power station is a super cool feature along the trail. Built in 1916, the ruined structure still houses the turbine and machinery once used to generate electricity. There is also an equally old grain storage structure, an ancient Native American site beneath a low rock overhand and countless other gems perfect for exploring. Confluence Park is even home to a tortoise rehabilitation pen.
Yant Flat - Dixie National Forest (Intermediate)
The other wordly Yant Flats begins with a short 1.5-mile hike through the woods before reaching open terrain of swirling smooth rock formations that spill out for miles. The landscape can be steep at times, and there are cliffs to be aware of, but the sticky rock will allow kids to adventure across much of the area with a little hand holding from mom & dad. Beware that the road getting out to Yant Flat is an 8-mile bumpy dirt road. It is a pretty intense drive if you are not used to dirt roads.
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Water Canyon - Cannan Mountain (Advanced)
This hidden gem of a hike located just outside of Hildale, UT has a shallow year-round creek and a rocky waterfall oasis at the end. You can venture on past the waterfall, but this isn’t advised with young kids. At 3.5-miles round trip the trail can be a little more advanced due to the moderate elevation gain and tricky rock scrambling.
Petrified Dunes - Snow Canyon State Park (Beginner)
At the heart of Snow Canyon, a short trail will take you to incredible rolling mounds of petrified Navajo Sandstone. The views from the top of the once-flowing mountains of sand are some of the most breathtaking in the park. Don't worry about following a trail, just climb, explore and enjoy the beauty to your heart's content.
Jenny's Canyon - Snow Canyon State Park (Beginner)
This hike may be short but it packs a punch. The .3 mile round trip trail will take you to a towering slot canyon on your left and an overlook to your right. The slot canyon is ideal for exploring and kids can even do a bit of rock climbing on the canyon walls.
Snow Canyon Overlook - Ivins, UT (Intermediate)
This off the beaten path trail is on the far north side of Snow Canyon, long past where the main tourist stream of people travels. A rocky and at times sandy 2.5-mile round trip hike takes you to expansive and stunning views of Snow Canyon that will take your breath away.
Babylon Arch - Red Cliffs National Reserve (Intermediate/Beginner)
Epic views, an epic sandhill, and an epic arch make this trail such a fun adventure with kids. At 2.9 miles round trip, the trail isn't as well marked as some and the arch can be a little hard to find. Take a gps with you to make sure you stay on the trail if this is your first time.
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West Cinder Cone Trail - Hurricane, UT (Beginner/Intermediate)
This quick 1.2 mile round trip desert trail takes you up to the top of a cinder knoll in Hurricane with views for days. You can see the Sandstone Mountain complex to the north, the East Cinder Knoll to the east, and portions of the Hurricane Valley to the south. There also lots of fun exploring to do at the top. The spongy cinders are so much fun for kids to run and play in.
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This article was written in partnership with the St. George Tourism Board and Travel Mindset. For more information about attractions in and around the St. George area, visit www.visitstgeorge.com. You can also follow them on Instagram @atozion.