Snow Canyon State Park

I visited Snow Canyon in April of 2021. I didn't stay long for a couple of reasons. First, I had Charlie with me and there were only two trails open for dogs. More importantly was the congestion. I would consider this an urban park because of its proximity to St. George. I was there on Thursday at midday and it was crowded with dog walkers, bicycles, joggers, and sightseers. There was limited parking. Not my kind of a place. I am presenting the few photos I took since I probably won't be back. That said, let's learn a little about Snow Canyon.

To get to Snow Canyon from St. George take the S. Bluff St exit from I-15. Bluff St. turns into Utah SR 18. Travel about 13 miles and turn onto Snow Canyon Drive which runs through the park. There is a small entrance fee. The campground has 14 RV sites with water and electrical hook-ups and 17 multi-use sites. Definitely make reservations.
The formation of Snow Canyon began some 180 to 190 million years ago with the deposition of layers of silt, mud, and sand. These layers eventually hardened into sedimetary rock. Over time streams and rivers eventually cut canyons into the sedimetary layers. One of the canyons formed was Snow Canyon. The predominant sedimentary rock in Snow Canyon is Navajo Sandstone. About 3 million to a few thousand years ago volcanic activity covered large areas of the southwest with basaltic lava flows. Results of this volcanic activity are apparent in many areas of the park.

Snow Canyon Drive

Visitor Center

Small Gift Shop

I was very fortunate to come across a desert tortoise, as they are not all that common and spend most of their lives in burrows. These guys can live to be 80 years old. In addition to a variety of natural predators, desert tortoises are also threatened by urbanization. A number of tortoise fatalities occur in Snow Canyon each year as a result of automobile encounters.

Mojave Desert Tortoise
(Gopherus agassizii)

Mojave Desert Tortoise
(Gopherus agassizii)

Whiptail Trail is a 16 mile loop trail. It's popular with bikers as most of it is paved. It is also one of two trails in the park that allows dogs, so there are a lot of dog walkers.

Whiptail Trail

Whiptail Trail


More Lava

Pioneer Names Trail

Pioneer Names trail is a short arc-shaped trail with both ends of the arc ending at trailheads on Snow Canyon Drive. About halfway around the arc there is a wall in an alcove on which settlers and ranchers from the late 1800s left their names written in axle grease.

Trail to Pioneer Names

Climbing to the Pioneer Names alcove

Pioneer Names

I took the road less traveled by continuing along the east canyon wall from Pioneer Names trail. There were a lot of footprints and dogprints to follow but no actual people or dogs, which was fine with me.

Firecracker Penstemon

Turnout along Snow Canyon Drive

Approaching the campground

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