Snow Canyon, Utah

Virgin, UT

The weather forecast this week is for sunny skies and warm temperatures (mid-70s) so we are researching more great hikes here in southeast Utah.  On Monday we headed south to the city of St. George, then a few miles to the west for a visit to Snow Canyon State Park.  The drive down I-15 provided some great views of the snow peaked mountains to the west.

Snow Canyon is named after early Mormon settlers Lorenzo and Erastus Snow.  There are two canyon in  the park, West Canyon and Snow Canyon.   They begin side-by-side in the north side of the park,  gouging deeply into the sandstone of the Red Mountains.  Each canyon then runs southward, slowly converging and finally meeting in the middle of the park.  From there Snow Canyon continues south-by-southeastward as a single, larger canyon

The main road through Snow Canyon

From the park brochure, we picked out a series of short hikes that we could combine into one long one.  After parking the Jeep in a small parking area, we began our hike through a flat, sandy area on what’s called the Butterfly Trail.

The trail quickly began a brief ascent around a  sandstone rock formation

It continued to the Lava Tubes, a large hole in the lava with a cave at either end.  There was a small area where it looked like people had climbed in, but we are not into caves, so we passed on that adventure.

The path then continued through the desert on packed sand.  After a short hike we joined a service road for about a half mile.

We then turned on to the Three Ponds Trail which, after a short hike on a firm trail, goes up a sandy wash for about two miles.

If you’ve ever walked along the beach in loose sand, you can imagine what fun it is to do a hike in the loose sand of a dry wash.  The legs definitely get a good workout on a hike like this!

We finally came to the end of the “trail” where a pond formed at the base of the rocks when the water in the wash diminished after a rain storm.

Hike up a side canyon just a short distance and you find two other smaller ponds, which combine with the large on to give the hike it’s name.  We sat up on the rocks in the side canyon and enjoyed our lunch.

A nice spot to eat lunch

While we ate our lunch,  three people on horseback arrived at the ponds.   We knew this didn’t bode well for the return trip.  Horses really dig deep into the sand and churn it up.  This makes hiking in narrow sections of the wash where you can’t avoid the horse tracks even more difficult.

As we came out of the wash and returned to the service road we could see some neat rock formations in front of us.

So we crossed the service road and hike up to check out the view of West Canyon below.

We enjoyed our brief visit to Snow Canyon.  The only negative was the large number of children in the park (all with adult supervision).  We stopped and chatted with one young father escorting three young boys along the trail and found that this is spring break for some public schools in Utah.  Now don’t get us wrong, we do like children.  After all, in our working life we put in a combined sixty years working with the little brats dears and even enjoyed it at times.  But now we would like them to remain in school during the week so we can enjoy places like Snow Canyon.  Can’t they just have their fun on the week-ends?  We don’t ever see prisons giving inmates a “spring break” and they seem to get along just fine, so why do kids need one?

Ok, you get the point.  But it is nice to see young people out enjoying nature and getting some exercise at the same time!

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15 Responses to Snow Canyon, Utah

  1. Ha ha very funny. It reminded me of our working years where we always take into account when kids are in school or on breaks when planning a vacation 🙂

    Lovely hike, as always beautiful photos of those rock formations, and yes agree with walking on the wash, it does give you a good workout.
    I have never been to Utah so your one month stay there will be a good gauge for our future travels there.

    What did you think of St. George? There was a time when we were thinking of retiring there.

    • placestheygo says:

      St. George is nice for a small city atmosphere. Beautiful houses. However, there are several amazing communities in every directing around St. George all with wonderful views. I guess a lot of people thought about retiring in the area, too.

  2. LuAnn says:

    Unfortunately we will not make it to Utah this year but thanks to your posts, we have many great ideas for hikes and places to see when we plan our trip. Thanks so much! 🙂

  3. Janna says:

    Yep, know exactly what you mean about the kids–don’t some places go to school year round?? As we will be in this Aransas Pass, TX RV park through the summer I am going to have to put on my “patience” cap as there are quite a few Hispanic children living here in the park.

  4. Marsha says:

    Another post with gorgeous photos. They just keep getting better!
    That “experienced” hiker better watch out or he might get swallowed up in that cave.
    Paul and I aren’t into caves either. They make me nervous. I think a bear might be in them.
    I am looking at all the footprints. What made those really deep prints? That part of the hike would get my old heart a ticking. HAHAHA…now I know what made those deep prints.
    Oh dear…spring break is here in Texas also. I don’t know about the kids, but about this time every year….I needed a spring break. Once we got back to school, it was countdown till the end of the year.
    Looks like another workout day for you two. No need to have a gym membership when you have an outdoor treadmill, stair stepper and elliptical machine all outdoors. And a much lovelier view.

  5. RJRVtravels says:

    We have been all over Utah but never Snow Canyon – will have to put it on the list.

  6. Ingrid says:

    Your posts have reminded me how much I love Utah. Now all we have to do is put it in the schedule. Thanks for all the info and great photos 🙂

  7. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    We haven’t been to Utah yet either. Thought we might go to Moab in May. Are you headed that way? Great pics as usual! Especially liked the arch….

    • placestheygo says:

      Our plan was to be in Moab in May. But we may have to change that because of the weather. From Zion, we were heading to Bryce Canyon and Cedar Break. But we started watching the temps and it is is still very cold there…low 20’s at night. Their days have been in low 50’s as we are in the 80’s here in Zion. So we may head to Moab, which is a little warmer April 1 and then back track to. Bryce Canyon in May. We still have over two weeks to make that decision. But we are going to Arches and Canyon land for at least a month. Maybe we will met up!

  8. Leigh says:

    Still more beautiful pictures.

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