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
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.
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!