Snow Canyon State Park is a majestic 7400-acre scenic park located in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area in Saint George, Utah. For Utah residents, there is an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle, $5 per vehicle of seniors 65 and up, or $5 per cyclist or pedestrian on foot. For non Utah residents, the fee is $15 per vehicle or $5 per cyclist/individuals on foot. There is an Annual Utah State Parks Pass available for $100 for Utah residents or $150 for non-Utah residents. Snow Canyon is open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Snow Canyon features a diverse landscape with Navajo sandstone cliffs, petrified sand dunes, and ancient lava fields. The sandstone cliffs were sculpted over years and years via wind and water. Ranging from burnt orange to off white, the Navajo sandstone is the remains of the ancient desert sand sea. The dramatic canyon creates a unique backdrop utilized for outdoor recreational activities as well as a popular photo destination for weddings, families, and more. The park elevation varies from 3100 to 4100 feet.
Saint George is known to have sweltering summertime temperatures, making spring and fall the most ideal time of year to visit the park. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on leash. Horses are permitted in designated areas. Hiking is the most popular activity in the park, with trails featuring vast amphitheaters, ancient petroglyphs, breathtaking overlooks, and dynamic slots. There are over 38 miles of hiking trails within the park
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There are two bike trails in the park, Whiptail Trail and West Canyon Road. Island in the Sky and Arch Canyon are the park’s two canyoneering routes, both of which require a permit through the park’s website or use of a guiding company. Several of the park’s hiking trails are also open to horsebacking riding, around 15 miles total. Camping areas require a fee of $30 without hookups and $35 with hookups.
A variety of unique desert species of plants and animals call Snow Canyon home. Narrow-leaf yucca, sand sage, and scrub oak are among the desert-adapted vegetation in the park. If conditions allow, an abundance of wildflowers will bloom and light up the area in the spring and fall. Threatened and/or endangered species of animals including peregrine falcons, desert tortoises and gila monsters can be found within the park. A variety of other desert dwelling species such as kit foxes, roadrunners, leopard lizards and gopher snakes live in the area as well. If you are lucky, you may be able to respectfully snag a photo from a distance.
Nestled in the shadow of Zion, Snow Canyon is sometimes overlooked and highly underrated. Fortunately this means it is less trafficked and less crowded than parks such as Zion. It is unique, diverse, and has a little something for everyone. Its views are so captivating that it has even been used for Hollywood films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Electric Horseman, and The Conqueror. If you are fortunate enough to see it in person, Snow Canyon State Park is an incredible gem that allows for endless exploring.
Written by: Lauren Kehoe