Introduction to Snow Canyon

A family friendly slickrock canyon right in town.

Categories: Family Friendly, Hiking, Snow Canyon, Utah

I have lived outside Snow Canyon for two years now so it’s about time I posted something about it. Snow Canyon State Park is often featured in Hollywood movies and music videos but is overshadowed by the big national parks of Southern Utah and Arizona. The first thing anyone needs to know about Snow Canyon is where it got it’s name. It is NOT because it snows there. Instead it’s named after Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, prominent figures of the early Mormon Church.

The State of Utah has a public animosity towards preservation of natural lands, so even though Snow Canyon is a state park there are luxury homes lining the rim and edges, pipelines, water tanks, performance halls, stables, a very popular neighboring gun range, regular marathons and photo shoots, two roads and a paved walking path running up and down the length of the less than a mile wide canyon. Indeed, with land developers sitting on the board of advisors, it’s more practical to call it a city park than even a State Park. There is a six dollar entry fee.

Snow Canyon is home to the endangered Desert Tortoise as well as the Gila Monster.

The park is especially beautiful shortly before sunset.

The sand dunes are the most popular area of the park but you can have them all to yourself if you show up during a stinging sandstorm.

A small child wanders off towards certain doom. Wait, I know that girl!

Despite the overdevelopment, there is a lack of trails to some areas of the park, and because of  that it’s still possible to find solitude, if not quiet. I personally love going there after dinner for dog walks or quick strenuous exercise exploring the canyon’s nooks and crannies. Even after two years of weekly visitation the park continues to reveal new secrets to me. The park has several fun hiking trails and numerous parking lots allowing immediate access to it’s sand dunes and slickrock hills. Both mountain biking and horse back riding area allowed on specific trails. It’s a great training area for rock climbing as well. You can expect to see future posts on Snow Canyon farther down the road…..

If you show up in the summer during the middle of the day the canyon will feel desolate and deadly hot, but through much of the year it offers a wide variety of blooming plants and flower.

There are a few places with hidden petroglyphs. Human habitation in the park stretches back to 200 AD.

Maree climbs towards the crannies in the cliffs.

Unlike nearby Zion, Snow Canyon is rife with Cholla. I’ve almost never had a problem with this breed, compared to other cati that have gone through the soles of my shoes and into my foot, but the Colla is known for having clusters of long sharp needles that break off the plant and then stick to you more. Be wary if you wander off trail.

The Snow Canyon Overlook trail is a three mile trudge along a very rocky jeep trail but ends in this spectacular vista.

The moon rises over the White Rocks portion of the park.

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