Where is Snow Canyon State Park
Located in the state’s southwestern region, Snow Canyon State Park resides entirely in the state of Utah. The state park is located near Ivins and St. George in Washington County. The park protects a canyon carved from the red and white Navajo Sandstone that is found in the area. The park also contains other unique geological features such as cinder cones, lava tubes, lava flows, and sand dunes. Snow Canyon State Park is located miles from the Arizona border and in close proximity to the state of Nevada. The park is located 129 miles and a two-hour drive northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, 56 miles and an hour drive west of Zion National Park, and 144 miles and a two hour and thirty-minute drive north of Grand Canyon National Park. Other smaller recreation areas also lie within close proximity to Snow Canyon State Park.
How Large is Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park covers over 7,400 acres. The park's geography mainly includes the canyon and other formations found in the Navajo Sandstone. The highest elevation point in the park is an unnamed peak that sits at around 5,024 feet and was observed and recorded by the United States Geological Survey. The park contains around 30 miles of hiking trails that meander throughout the canyon and surrounding geography. Snow Canyon US State Park also houses a campground with 35 campsites, and a variety of wildlife species. The most common wildlife species spotted within the park include Gila monsters, peregrine falcons, and desert tortoises.
Snow Canyon State Park Weather
The weather at Snow Canyon State Park changes frequently throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures in the park are hot, dry, and normally average between 60 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, these temperatures cool considerably and average between 25 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest temperatures of the year arrive at the park in June, July, and August, and the coldest temperatures find the park in January and February. On average, Snow Canyon State Park receives around 24 days of rain per year. These 24 days of rain accumulate to a yearly average of around only 8 inches. In winter, Snow Canyon State Park sometimes experiences snow and freezing rain. However, yearly snowfall totals in the park normally average around only 2 inches.
When did Snow Canyon become a State Park
Snow Canyon State Park first became a state park in 1958. The park is maintained and managed by the state of Utah’s state park system. The park was originally named Dixie Canyon State Park but was switched to Snow Canyon State Park in honor of early Mormon settlers Lorenzo and Erastus Snow. Before settlers found the area, the canyon provided a home to Ancestral Puebloans who hunted and gathered in the area. The International Union of Conservation for Nature classifies Snow Canyon State Park as a category five protected landscape.
Things to do in Snow Canyon State Park
Visitors traveling to Snow Canyon State Park will find a variety of activities waiting for them when they arrive. Our State Park Visitors Guide highlights the most popular adventures the park provides access to below:
Join a Park Event
Occasionally, Snow Canyon State Park hosts a variety of events that allow visitors to interact with each other and learn about the area’s ecology, history, and nature. These events are often advertised and posted on the park’s website. The schedule of events and the type of events offered varies throughout every season as park staff is able to host them.
Explore the Hidden Pinyon Nature Path
The Hidden Pinyon Nature Path is the first trail in the park that visitors should embark down. The trail offers visitors the chance to become educated and familiar with a variety of the area’s plants and wildlife. Along the Hidden Pinyon trail there are educational plaques and displays that identify and discuss various features associated with the area’s unique vegetation.
Hike the Whiptail Trail
The longest trail in the park, the Whiptail Trail takes visitors on a journey through the bottom of the canyon. Despite this trail’s length, the Whiptail Trail is completely paved and accessible to a variety of hikers with varying experience levels. The trail is perfect for hiking, walking, biking, and rollerblading.
Hike the Johnson Canyon Trail
The Johnson Canyon Trail in Snow Canyon State Park grants visitors the opportunity to observe and interact with the only riparian area within the park. The trail is also rated at a difficulty of easy and extends for two miles. The trail is only open from November 15 to March 1.
Hike the Petrified Dunes Trail
The Petrified Dunes Trail traverses a variety of embankments where visitors may observe several sand dunes that are stuck in time. This trail is rated as moderate and extends for one mile. The trail contains several sections that are rather steep and others with treacherous terrain.
Rock Climbing & Mountain Biking
Other than hiking, Snow Canyon State Park also offers its more adventurous visitors the opportunity to rock climb and mountain bike within its boundaries. Additional information regarding current rock climbing and mountain biking routes can be accessed by speaking with park staff at the park’s entrance station.
Snow Canyon State Park also offers interested visitors the opportunity to observe several desert wildlife species. The most notable and often spotted species in Snow Canyon State Park are the gila monster, the Peregrine Falcon, and the desert tortoise. However, other species found in the park include scorpions, lizards, toads, and coyotes.
Camping in Snow Canyon State Park
The campground at Snow Canyon State Park contains 35 campsites. These campsites can be reserved online through the park’s website and reservation portal. In the summer, the campground does occasionally reach capacity. Visitors looking to visit Snow Canyon State Park during the summer season should make reservations at least a few months ahead of time.
When to Visit Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park is open year-round. However, a majority of the park’s trails, camping areas, and other activities are only open or offered in the summer months. Therefore, summer is the best time to visit Snow Canyon State Park. Visitors looking to visit during the summer will want to plan their trip well in advance to avoid not receiving a reservation for one of the park’s campsites. During spring and fall visitors will also be able to experience most of what the park can offer. However, some hiking trails may be closed for the season.
Must Have Items to Bring to Snow Canyon State Park
It's no surprise that every trip outdoors requires some packing and planning. A trip to Snow Canyon State Park is no exception. The items listed below should be considered when packing for your trip to the park.
Water & High Energy Snacks
Water is essential for every hiking and camping trip. High energy snacks are also a great item to bring with you on the trail or enjoy in camp. Snacks like beef jerky, trail mix, and protein bars can do wonders at replenishing energy and providing a needed boost after a long day or hike.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
A pair of sturdy hiking boots are essential for a successful trip to Snow Canyon State Park. Several of the park’s trails venture over various terrain and can become quite hazardous during dry summer months as the ground begins to crack and erode.
When packing for any camping trip, creating and using a camping equipment checklist is a helpful practice. List of Parks suggests a checklist to make sure you don’t forget any necessary equipment when packing for your trip to Snow Canyon State Park.
Wildlife Field Guide
Wildlife enthusiasts looking to visit Snow Canyon State Park should bring along a North America or Utah specific wildlife field guide. The best field guides contain color images and species descriptions that make species identification educational and simple. Visitors interested in the variety of vegetation that grows in the park can also purchase a desert specific vegetation field guide to aid in identification.
Where to Stay in Snow Canyon State Park
Visitors looking to stay within Snow Canyon State Park should look to make a reservation for one of the park’s campsites. These reservations can be made online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to camp in the park in the summer should make their reservations several months in advance. Visitors of Snow Canyon State Park who would prefer to stay in a hotel in the area can first search for options in Ivins, Santa Clara, or St. George. However, additional options can be found after a moderate drive. Las Vegas, Nevada is a two-hour drive away from the park.
Food Near Snow Canyon State Park
The closest food to Snow Canyon State Park can be found in Ivins, Santa Clara, or St. George. However, visitors looking for more options and variety can make the two-hour drive to Las Vegas, Nevada. Park visitors looking for outdoor supplies can also head towards Zion or Grand Canyon National Park where a variety of outdoor supply stores are situated. Snow Canyon State Park also manages and maintains a concession stand in the summer months that can provide needed drinks and snacks.
Airports Near Snow Canyon State Park
The closest International Airport to Snow Canyon State Park is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The McCarran International Airport Las Vegas is 136 miles and about a two hour and ten-minute drive away from the park. The next closest international airports to Snow Canyon State Park reside in Phoenix, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico. These airports are over four hours away from the park.