Hey! It's Simone here, and today, I am sharing one of my favorite State Parks in Southern Utah, Snow Canyon State Park. This Utah state park is filled with great hiking, beautiful Navajo sandstone formations, ancient lava rock (basalt), and out-of-this-world views, so come along, and I will show you how to visit Snow Canyon like a local!
One of the things I love most about Snow Canyon, besides the stunning landscape, is that the park is lightly trafficked all day & very spread out. So even on a busy day, I can still find peace and solitude.....my favorite.
*Adventure Photog Kennedy
I also love that it is within minutes of some of Southern Utah's best shopping, hotels, and cuisine. Thus making it a great day trip & easy to pencil into any adventure schedule without skipping a beat!
*Adventure Photog ARIKA
Where is Snow Canyon Located?
Snow Canyon is located in Dammeron Valley, Ut - just 10 minutes north of St. George & about a one-hour drive from Zion National Park.
Zion National Park - 1 hour
Lake Powell - 2.5 hours
Kanab - 1 .5 hours
Coral Pink Sand Dunes - 1 hour
North Rim of Grand Canyon - 3 hours
Valley of Fire State Park - 1 hour 40 minutes
Bryce Canyon National Park - 2 hours 40 minutes
Las Vegas - 2 hours
Cedar City - 1 hour
Brian Head - 1.5 hours
Duck Creek - 1.5 hours
When to visit
Winter, spring, and fall are the best times to visit this magical desert landscape because of the mild temps but have no fear; summer is still a great time to visit. Just make sure you get out early in the day or later in the day to beat the heat, and bring plenty of water.
Where to hike & adventure
Now it's time to go explore this amazing park! As I said earlier, there is a plethora of landscape versatility in Snow Canyon State Park! From slot canyons, to painted white rocks, to sandy trails soft enough to run around barefoot, to overlooks that will take your breath away! These are some of my favorite places to explore.
-IN THE MAIN CANYON
These trails are located within the main entrances of the park. Don't let the daily fee deter you if you do not have a Utah State Park annual pass. These views are priceless & 100% worth it for an incredible experience. Check out my favorite hikes below.
*Adventure Photog Arika
Petrified Sand Dunes
This is one of the most popularly visited locations in the park, and you'll see why! Popular for family photography (wink wink....click here to book a photoshoot), wedding and engagements, this 1.2-mile out-and-back trail is family-friendly and packed with incredible views. The dunes are essentially massive hills of Navajo sandstone that cascade around you. Although there are uneven surfaces and some steep hills - the dunes are reasonably easy to navigate and make for a fantastic family outing!
*Adventure Photog Arika
A short, sandy walk to a quaint yet magnificent slot canyon. This trail is only a .5 mile round trip walk and is lightly trafficked throughout the day. You can run your fingertips along the soft red walls of the canyon, and it offers a cool refuge from the hot desert summers.
Lava Tube Trail
Bring your headlamps or flashlights to explore this one! This 2.3-mile out-and-back hike is considered relatively moderate and offers 360-degree views of the open desert. Although it would seem unsuspecting, you will stumble across three different caves you can explore! You'll see a lot more basalt and white rocks in this area, which is an excellent experience outside of the red rocks you'll get used to seeing on your travels!
These trails are located just outside the park and feature all of the beauty I love so much about Snow Canyon.
*adventure photog Matti
Snow Canyon Scenic Overlook
This is the drive-up you'll want to go to with one of those Iceberg shakes in the evening with your loved ones! That's right.....I said drive-up! If you want the best vantage point of the canyon after a long day of exploring, this is it. Starting at the park's north entrance, it's only about a 3-minute drive to these epic views.
*adventure photog Arika
Another drive-up spot that you can choose to get out and hike further in or just enjoy the beginning of the trail surrounded by cascading white rocks and distant views of the canyon. If you catch it at the right time of year, there are wildflowers and beautiful green shrubs all around! Another fun addition is the cluster of lava rocks at the start of the trail that makes for fun (careful) climbing and photo backgrounds!
*adventure photog Arika
CAMPING IN SNOW CANYON STATE PARK
There is one campground located near the visitor center within the State Park. Reservations can be made at ReserveAmerica.com and can be done on a 4-month rolling basis. It is a beautiful and quiet park for camping, and I highly recommend it.
GOOD TO KNOW
Accessibility to the main canyon comes with a small entrance fee. You can also choose to explore the outskirts for a free visit - just make sure to pack in and pack your trash so the trails can remain beautiful and unscathed. Either way, you're in for a treat!
WHERE TO EAT
I'm a bit of a foodie, so forgive me, but I'm going to really spruce up your palette with some of my favorites in the Santa Clara/St. George area ranging from super casual to "maybe you'll want to clean up a little" star ratings!
(Distance from Snow Canyon will be listed next to the name of the restaurant)
Kicking off my restaurant recommendations with a bang, starting with one of my absolute favorite spots! Rylus cooks up every plate to perfection & offers a beautiful variety of French and German cuisine with a twist. From chicken schnitzel with a fresh bed of greens & house made vinegarette, to Tuscan style braised beef short rib with roasted garlic and parsnip purée - you cannot go wrong. This is the perfect date night out if you are traveling with your sweetie. So don't forget to make a reservation, and enjoy!
A St. George classic! This place brings an "at home" sense of nostalgia with their juicy burgers, house-made fries & delicious shakes. You can't go wrong with a family-friendly burger joint that is accommodating for all ages & throws you back to the 60s. Fun fact: this franchise originated in Salt Lake City, UT & is now found in California and Arizona!
This place was a breath of fresh air in St. George! Serving phenomenal cocktails and unique dishes - W.A.R has a menu that changes seasonally. Every meal is prepared with intricacy and flavor mania in your mouth. The pork belly is normally served with cool chunks of watermelon and mouth-watering seasonal soft shell crab that is beer-battered and served with a delectable sauce and greens. Told you, FLAVOR MANIA! Don't be intimidated by the items I listed, because there is something for everyone.
Patio seating, surrounded by red rocks, and good food? Need I say more? This family-friendly restaurant is tucked away in a secluded area in Ivins, UT. They serve dishes anywhere from delicious Mahi tacos, juicy burgers, and chicken sandwiches packed with flavor. Pair any of these meals with their blended lemonade, and you've got yourself the perfect afternoon outing.
If you like pizza, you will LOVE Riggatti's wood-fired pizzas. Riggatti's has perfected the art of that beautifully charred, cheesy & saucy goodness we all crave. Of course, you can get your classic cheese or pepperoni, but they also serve unique concoctions like their Riggatti special, Alfredo, and The Limone! Peep at the menu before you go, and I suggest you order ahead! Once word caught the ears of St. George residents, the wait time can be a little long - but 100% worth it!
With the city of St. George less than 10 minutes away, you'll have access to movie theaters, shopping, and historical treasures. My favorite is Tuacahn Amphitheater, located minutes from Snow Canyon. This amphitheater is an absolute gem in Southern Utah. Sitting in the heart of tall, rich red walls, it's hard to not be taken aback by the natural beauty of this location. Popular musicals such as Mary Poppins and Lion King are showcased here, along with the occasional concert or even church service on Easter! The natural acoustics against the rocks makes for an incredible experience. Take a look at the link below to see what tickets are available & take the family out for a fun evening!
It’s hard to beat the convenience and beauty of Snow Canyon State Park. The only thing you have to be worried about is falling in love and not wanting to leave! Go experience it for yourself and tell us what you think!
Happy Adventuring - Simone
*You can learn more about Simone, check out her amazing gallery and book her for a shoot HERE