10 Great Things to Do in Snow Canyon State Park, Plus Helpful Tips for Visiting

Snow Canyon | St. George Utah | 2020

If you are traveling through Southern Utah, Snow Canyon State Park needs to be on your list of stops!

Snow Canyon State Park is located near St. George, Utah. This desert park is full of adventure, spectacular views, and 38 miles of picturesque hikes! With towering red rocks contrasting with the black of old lava flows it is strikingly colorful.

I’ve visited Snow Canyon many times with my family, and each time we find something new and cool to do!

Keep on reading to find out more about this underrated state park!

kids walking across the slick rock

Why is it Called Snow Canyon?

When people hear the word “snow” they often think of frozen white stuff falling from the sky. While it is possible for Snow Canyon to receive snow, it’s not common.

Snow Canyon was originally called Dixie State Park but was later renamed. The “snow” in Snow Canyon is in reference to two early Utah leaders, Lorenzo and Erastus Snow.

Things to Do

There are many things for people of all ages to do in Snow Canyon! Here are my favorites.

Things to DoDistanceDifficultyWhat You Will See
Jenny’s Canyon0.3-mile out-and-backEasySlot canyon with towering red rock
Pioneer Names0.4-mile out-and-backEasyPioneer names written in rock alcove
Petrified Dunes1.2 miles out-and-backEasyRolling mounds of petrified Navajo sandstone
Sand Dunes0.6-mile out-and-backEasyGorgeous red sand dunes
Lava Tubes1.7-mile loop OR
2.3 miles out-and-back
Caves made from old lava flows
White Rocks Amphitheater3.5 miles out-and-back OR
0.9-mile out-and-back
Impressive, petrified, white sandstone mountains
Cinder Cone1.7 miles out-and-backModerateTop of a dormant volcano
Scout Cave4.4 miles out-and-backModerateTeardrop-shaped cave & views
Johnson Canyon &
Johnson Arch
1.7 miles out-and-backEasyBeautiful canyon & spectacular arch
Hidden Pinyon1-mile loopEasySelf-guided nature trail

Jenny’s Canyon

Jenny's slot canyon
Jenny’s Canyon Slot

Jenny’s Canyon is one of the first stops you see upon entering Snow Canyon State Park. The short trail leads you from the parking lot to a small slot canyon with towering red rock walls! It is incredible to walk through!

What to Expect:

Trail: 0.3-mile out-and-back trail to a small slot canyon.

Trail Difficulty: Easy. It is flat and sandy until you approach the slot, here it gets slightly rocky, but nothing too hard! Before you know it, you are in the slot!

This short trail packs a HUGE wow factor! And should not be missed!

Caution: It is not safe to enter slot canyons when it is raining or if there is a chance of rain! Always check the weather, before you enter!

Pioneer Names

Pioneer names written on a rock face
Pioneer Names Written on the Red Rock Alcove Along Pioneer Names Trail

Shortly after Jenny’s Canyon, you will see two parking areas for the Pioneer Names Trail. This is a trail for all you history buffs out there!

This short trail takes you to names written on the rock alcove, with axle grease, by pioneers in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

What to Expect:

Trail: 0.4-mile out-and-back.

Trail Difficulty: Easy, sandy trail the whole way until you see the alcove.

If you are brave enough (and can do so safely) you can climb the red rocks to get a closer look at these names. It is a unique trail and interesting landmark that is worth a stop, and you’ll get a little history lesson! 

Petrified Dunes

Viewpoint from Petrified Dunes Trail
Viewpoint from Petrified Dunes Trail

I always tell people, if you only have time for one hike in Snow Canyon, Petrified Dunes needs to be it! Petrified Dunes is a truly incredible hike with sweeping views of the red rocks and surrounding canyon. 

What to Expect:

Trail: 1.2 miles out and back.

Trail Difficulty: Easy. Starts out sandy and turns to red rock. Don’t be afraid when the trail starts to climb onto the red rock, it’s an easy trail!

Follow the metal trail markers (shown below) to stay on the path. This became a fun game for the kids, seeing who could be the first to spot the next marker!

This trail has the best views in the park.

Trail Marker on the trail
Trail Marker on Petrified Dunes Trail
walking across the slick rock
Petrified Dunes Trail

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

Not to be confused with the petrified dunes, the Sand Dunes trail will lead you to Snow Canyon’s sand dunes! Bring along some sand toys or sleds and prepare to spend some time playing and having fun in the sand! 

What to Expect:

Trail: 0.6 miles out and back.

Trail Difficulty: Easy.

The sand dunes are the perfect spot for young kids to run, play, and get those wiggles out!

Lava Tubes

opening in the Lava Tubes
Inside a Lava Tube along the Lava Tubes Trail

Lava tubes are caves made from where lava used to flow. There are multiple in Snow Canyon! If you are looking for a different kind of hike, a fun adventure, and a change of scenery from the red rocks, then this hike is for you!

What to Expect:

Two trails will take you to the lava tubes:

Trail: Lava Tube and Butterfly Trail Loop: 1.7-mile loop.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate. The trail itself isn’t too bad, sandy, and some red rocks to climb over, but it can get tricky when you reach the tubes!


Trail: Lava Tube Trail: 2.3 miles out and back.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate. This trail is also not too hard, but climbing into and exploring the lava tubes will take some extra precautions!

We LOVE taking the Lava Tubes & Butterfly Trail loop because it brings you right past this boulder that resembles a butterfly. It makes for a great photo op. Each of our kids couldn’t wait to climb in between the rocks for a picture of them as a butterfly!

Butterfly Rock on Butterfly Trail
Butterfly Rock along the Butterfly Trail

When you reach the lava tubes (there are MULTIPLE) you can climb right down into the tubes. Make sure to watch your head and bring flashlights!

Tips for Your Visit:

While the lava tubes are fun to explore, they are not as easy to get in and out of if you have physical limitations or really young children. It involves climbing down into the caves while watching your step and carefully planting each foot. You should take extra precautions while visiting to keep you and your family safe! Do not enter if you do not feel that you can exit safely!

White Rocks Amphitheater

White Rocks Amphitheater in the distance

A stark contrast to the red rocks of Snow Canyon is White Rocks Amphitheater.

There are two ways to explore White Rocks:

Trail: 3.5 miles out-and-back trail starting from the trailhead inside the park.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate


Trail: 0.9 miles out-and-back starting from a parking lot just north of the North Entrance to Snow Canyon.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate. The trail is easy until you need to climb into the amphitheater but it isn’t too bad and is only a short distance.

This hike brings you onto white slickrock that you will climb over into sort of a “bowl” area called an amphitheater. Here you can explore, climb around, and play. Sometimes, if there has been recent rainfall, there can be pools of water in the amphitheater.

Cinder Cone

Have you ever wanted to hike to the top of a volcano?

Well, you are in luck because you can in Snow Canyon! The lesser-known Cinder Cone Trail is one for the adventurer in all of us!

What to Expect:

Trail: 1.7 miles out and back.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate.

After your trek up the volcano and before you enter the cone, you will be rewarded with views of the canyon.

Scout Cave

Scout Cave Trail leads you to a teardrop-shaped cave with a backdrop of the canyon! This is a great place to explore and rest in the shade.

It is a perfect photo spot and has an incredible view to sit back and enjoy. 

What to Expect:

Trail: 4.4 miles out and back.

Trail Difficulty: Moderate.

Tips for Your Visit:

At times this trail can be very popular and crowded. You may have to wait to get that perfect shot!

Johnson Canyon & Johnson Canyon Arch

Johnson Canyon Arch

Hike Johnson Canyon and Johnson Canyon Arch from a parking lot just outside the South Entrance to Snow Canyon. You will be rewarded with a beautiful canyon and spectacular arch!

What to Expect:

Trail: 1.7 miles out and back.

Trail Difficulty: Easy.

Things to Know:

  • This hike is closed from March 15th- September 14th, so this is a hike to visit during the off-season!
  • After significant rainfall, you can sometimes see a 200-foot waterfall inside the canyon, which is an incredible sight to catch! 
  • The Scout Cave Trail branches off this trail so it would be convenient to do both hikes on the same day if you plan enough time. 

Hidden Pinyon

Hidden Pinyon Trail is a self-guided nature trail with signposts educating visitors about the desert landscape and the animals that inhabit it. Grab a trail guide at the fee station before heading on the trail and get to know what makes Snow Canyon so special!

What to Expect:

Trail: 1-mile loop.

Trail Difficulty: Easy.

Enjoy the incredible views of the canyon as you hike around and on the rocks on this trail. This is a great one to choose if you have young kids, and want to get to know more about Snow Canyon.

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Tips for Visiting Snow Canyon State Park

Buy a Park Pass

Since it’s a state park, you’ll need to pay a small entry fee. If you’re visiting multiple state parks this year, consider getting the yearly pass.

No need to purchase it online; just pay the fee when you arrive at the entry gate. For rates and more information, see the official Snow Canyon State Park website.

Arrive Early

Arriving early is one of our best tips. Arriving by 9 am, at the latest, will help you beat the bulk of the crowds. The trailhead parking lots are small and can fill up quickly. Arriving early can really make a huge difference in how easily you are able to explore and get around the park.

Pack Food

There is no food available in or near the entrance of the park. So packing snacks, or possibly meals, is a good idea if you want to spend a significant amount of time in the park.

Consider Camping

What better place to camp than next to the red rocks of Snow Canyon? There are individual hookup and non-hookup sites, as well as group sites, available to reserve on the official Snow Canyon State Park Website.

Ride Bikes

There are many bike rental options available in St. George. It is fun to bike, or e-bike, Snow Canyon. The Snow Canyon Paved Trail extends 18 miles. Go as far as you choose and enjoy the views along the way!

Ride Horses

I have not done this yet, but it is something that my family has been dying to do! Can you imagine taking in the breathtaking red rock scenery while on horseback? It would be incredible.

Snow Canyon Trail Rides offers rides in spring, summer, and fall.

Safety Tips for Your Visit

  • Bring plenty of water. A good guideline is 1 liter per person, per hour! The hotter the weather, the more water you should bring!
  • Bring plenty of snacks: It’s always a good idea to have snacks available, especially for those little ones who are always hungry. Salty snacks are especially good. They help replace the sodium you lose from sweating.
  • Wear sunscreen and reapply as needed! Most of the trails in Snow Canyon State Park are full sun, so be prepared. A hat is also a great idea! Check out our recommended gear for hiking.
  • Grab a map from the entrance gate. Cell service can be spotty and it’s important to know where to go when you are on the trail! Downloading maps beforehand is also a great idea.
  • Leave wildlife alone, even if they seem friendly. It can be harmful to you and to them.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles anytime you are on a trail. Pack out everything you bring in and don’t leave behind garbage for other hikers or animals to pick up.
  • Stay on the designated trail. Leaving the trail is a good way to not only get lost but also ruin precious ecosystems.
  • And the most important rule HAVE FUN!

Things to Do Nearby

Southern Utah has an endless amount of amazing things to do. Here are just a few of them.

St. George

Statue of Brigham Young

St. George is nearby Snow Canyon State Park and is definitely worth a visit. Visit the historic main street, ride the carousel, and grab ice cream at Judd’s General Store. Climb through red rocks, and explore Boy Scout Cave as well as “the crack” at Pioneer Park. Or enjoy the beautiful garden scenery at Red Hills Botanical Garden.


Tuacahn Amphitheater

Tuacahn Amphitheater, located in St. George, is surrounded by beautiful red rocks and is truly an incredible place to watch Broadway-style plays and musicals.

Gunlock Falls

Water flowing at Gunlock Falls

If you get lucky, Gunlock Falls may be running during your visit. The falls only “run” occasionally when the area has gotten significant moisture and the reservoir is over-full. They are truly a site to see and worth a visit if they are running! Make sure to check prior to your visit!


Veyo Pies Sign

Veyo is a small, little town about 25 minutes outside St. George. It is right near Gunlock State Park & Gunlock Falls. It not only has some amazing pies but it also has a spring-fed pool and a dormant volcano. Veyo Pies is a small unassuming spot serving up famous pie slices. Once you try them, you understand why people love them so much. They have so many delicious flavors, there is sure to be something everyone will love.

Another must-visit stop in Veyo is Veyo Pool & Crawdad Canyon. Here you can dive into a spring-fed pool, catch crawdads, rock climb, and even camp. If you are looking for more adventure, take the 1-mile hike up Veyo Volcano for stunning views of the valley around you!

Pine Valley

Pine Valley Chapel

Pine Valley is a mountain oasis in the middle of red rock country. It’s completely different! It has a cute little main street with some hiking trails and a reservoir to swim in or boat. The historic Pine Valley Chapel is a perfect photo op.

Zion National Park

Located an hour and twenty minutes from Snow Canyon is Zion National Park. Zion National Park is a heavenly place with incredible views and amazing hikes. The two most famous hikes are The Narrows and Angels Landing. One would be hard-pressed to find more unique hiking experiences. If you have time, schedule a visit to Zion National Park. You will not be disappointed.

Places To Eat Nearby

Farmstead Bakery

This is one of our favorite stops in St. George for pastries, sandwiches, and salads. It is a popular spot and there is always a crowd, but it is well worth the wait! And the best bonus is, after grabbing your food from Farmstead Bakery you can walk across the street to Town Square Park and have a picnic!

Riggatti’s Wood Fired Pizza

Another great St. George stop, Riggatti’s serves up an incredible variety of pizzas, along with salads and truly special desserts. Grab their cinna sticks, giant cinnamon rollatti, or peach cobbler pizza to finish off your meal.

Tifiny’s Creperie

If you are looking for a great breakfast spot, Tifiny’s Creperie is for you! Crepe’s topped with Eggs Benedict or Crème Brule French toast… need I say more? This is a no-brainer for all your breakfast cravings! Not a breakfast person? Not to worry! They also have savory crepes, soups, sandwiches, pasta, and more for lunch and dinner!


Looking for a spot closer to Snow Canyon State Park? Stop by Xetava for incredible salads, sandwiches, coffee, drinks, and a wide variety of other healthy dishes. If you want locally sourced, fresh foods in a beautiful environment, this place is for you.

Morty’s Cafe

Looking for a burger spot? Morty’s Cafe fits the bill with incredible burgers, fries, shakes, and salads. If you are looking for something on the healthier side, don’t worry! Morty’s does that too, with quinoa salads and veggie burgers on the menu!

La Cocina Mexican Street Food

Craving tacos? Grab authentic street tacos from La Cocina! This no-fuss spot serves tacos, quesadillas, and burritos with your choice of meats! If you love authentic Mexican street food, this spot is for you!


You can’t visit Utah without also stopping to grab a signature mixed soda from Swig. While you’re there, grab some sugar cookies and you have yourself an iconic Utah treat!

Iceberg Drive Inn

Another Utah classic. If you are craving ice cream, you need to grab an Iceberg shake. They are HUGE, thick shakes that tower over the cup! They actually put the shake cup into a large cup and it still towers over that! It’s safe to say, these shakes are perfect sharing and a true Utah classic!

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

As mentioned earlier, Zion National Park is relatively close to the St. George/Snow Canyon area. A trip to Southern Utah is not complete until you have visited Snow Canyon as well as Zion National Park. Once at Zion National Park, it can be frustrating because it is very popular. The crowds and shuttle system can make it confusing to navigate.

Lucky for you, we have you covered. Most travelers want to visit the most popular sites, yet still, avoid crowds. We have a detailed itinerary that gives you a step-by-step game plan so you can get to the best places at the right times!


ZION TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Zion National Park, check out our  Zion Homepage

THINGS TO DO: Don’t miss all that Zion has to offer including Emerald Pools, Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Kolob Canyons

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and near Zion National Park.

GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT: Learn where to stay or camp when visiting Zion and explore some amazing cities nearby including St. George, Kanab, and Cedar City

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out if you need a reservation and how to use the shuttle system as well as if you can drive in Zion, which entrance to use, and how to avoid crowds

WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Zion National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Zion YouTube Playlist


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