Snow Canyon State Park is a 7,400-acre
scenic park tucked amid lava flows and soaring
sandstone cliffs in a strikingly colorful and
fragile desert environment. Visitors marvel at
majestic views and the subtle interplay of light,
shadow, and color dancing across canyon walls.
Located in the 62,000-acre Red Cliffs Desert
Reserve, established to protect the federallylisted desert tortoise and its habitat, the park
offers opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of
all ages. Activities include hiking, nature studies,
wildlife viewing, photography, camping, ranger
talks and junior ranger programs. There are
more than 38 miles of hiking trails, a three-mile
paved walking/biking trail, technical climbing
and more than 15 miles of equestrian trails.
Planning Your Visit
Created in 1959, Snow Canyon has a long history
of human use. Anasazi Indians inhabited the region
from A.D. 200 to 1250, utilizing the canyon for
hunting and gathering. Paiute Indians used the
canyon from A.D. 1200 to the mid-1800s. Mormon
pioneers discovered Snow Canyon in the 1850s
while searching for lost cattle. The canyon was the
site of Hollywood films such as Butch Cassidy and
the Sundance Kid, The Electric Horseman, and
Jeremiah Johnson. Originally called Dixie State Park,
it was later renamed for Lorenzo and Erastus Snow,
prominent pioneering Utah leaders.
Park facilities include picnic areas, modern
restrooms, and a 33-unit campground with
water and electric hook ups, tent and group
campsites, showers, drinking water and
sewage disposal station.
Transported by wind more than 183 million years
ago, tiny grains of quartzite sand covered much of
what is now Utah. These sand dunes, up to 2,500
feet thick, eventually cemented into stone. Burnt
orange to creamy white in color, Navajo sandstone,
the predominant rock in the park, is what remains of
the ancient desert sand sea. Over time, water cut and
shaped the sandstone to form canyons. Approximately
1.4 million years ago, and as recently as 27,000 years
ago, nearby cinder cones erupted causing lava to flow
down these canyons, filling them with basalt. This
redirected ancient waterways, eventually carving new
canyons. Look up to see lava-capped ridges that were
once canyon bottoms.
Please observe these park regulations to
ensure everyone’s visit is pleasant:
Camping – Camp only in designated areas.
Each permit covers one vehicle and any
attached recreational equipment. There is an
extra fee for additional vehicles or camping
equipment. Only one extra vehicle and up to
eight people are allowed in a campsite.
Hiking – Hiking and scrambling are permitted
only on designated trails and slickrock. See a
park ranger for more information.
Fires – Campfires may be built in designated
areas. Gathering firewood or starter is
prohibited. Seasonal fire bans are in effect
June 1 through September 15.
Pets – Permitted only in campground, on West
Canyon Road, Whiptail Trail and Paradise
Canyon; must be leashed. For safety and
courtesy, please keep your pets under control.
Your park fees provide for the care, protection and
enhancement of this park.
The park is located eight miles north of St. George on State
Plants and Animals
Snow Canyon is home to a diversity of plant and
wildlife species not found elsewhere in the state.
Located at the intersection of the Mojave Desert,
Great Basin Desert and Colorado Plateau, the park
averages 7.5 inches of rainfall each year. Vegetation
includes desert adapted species such as creosote
bush, narrow leaf yucca, sand sage, blackbrush,
scrub oak and desert willow. If spring and fall
conditions are right, wildflowers light up the park
with a showy display of blooms. Wildlife watchers
may see coyotes, kit foxes, quail, roadrunners,
leopard lizards, gopher snakes and canyon tree
frogs. Fourteen sensitive species protected by state
and/or federal law are found within the park. They
include peregrine falcons, desert tortoises and gila
monsters. Plant and wildlife checklists are available
at park headquarters for a nominal fee. Removal of
plants and wildlife is prohibited.
◆ Carry at least one liter of water per person.
◆ Do not hike alone. Take a friend or family
member along or tell someone of your plans.
◆ Avoid hiking when temperatures are extreme.
Otherwise keep your hike short, wear a hat
and sunscreen, and bring water.
◆ Scrambling and rock climbing are dangerous
and permitted in designated areas only. Each
year inexperienced visitors are seriously
injured or killed while climbing on rocks.Only
attempt with proper equipment and training.
The park is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. year-round.
No holiday closures.
Address Inquiries To:
Snow Canyon State Park
1002 Snow Canyon Dr.
Ivins, UT 84738
Utah State Parks and Recreation
P.O. Box 146001
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6001
Lots of people use Snow Canyon. Cool
creatures also live here. However, every
year hundreds of animals are hit and
killed on the park roadway—including
threatened Mojave desert tortoises.
So relax, enjoy the drive, and keep
your eyes on the road.
If you see a tortoise in the road:
For Reservations Call:
(801) 322-3770 or toll-free (800) 322-3770
• Stop your car in a safe place.
Utah State Parks Mission:
Plants and Animals – All plants, animals,
minerals, and other natural features in state
parks are protected. It is unlawful to remove,
alter, or destroy them.
To enhance the quality of life by preserving and providing
natural, cultural and recreational resources for the enjoyment,
education and inspiration of this and future generations.
Wastewater – It is unlawful to dump or drain
wastewater from campers or trailers onto the
ground. A sanitary disposal station is provided
for registered campers.
Scan the QR code below
mobile device to visit the
park website, stateparks.utah.gov/parks/snow-canyon
• Slowly approach the tortoise,
noting the direction of travel.
• Pick it up using both hands and
hold it in its normal walking position
(don’t tip it from side to side).
Quiet Hours – 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
• Carefully carry it across the road
in the same direction, taking it
no more than 100 feet from the
Accidents – Please report accidents or
suspicious activities to a ranger.
• Report your observations to park
Permits – A Special Use Permit is required
for all special events and commercial or
professional filming and photography.
For Your Safety
Information contained in this brochure was accurate at the time of
printing. Policies, facilities, fees, hours and regulations, etc., change
as mandated. For updated information please contact the park.
Printed on recycled paper
Utah State Parks
C in d e r C o n e
S co u
Snow Canyon State Park
Park Access Roads
Visitor Center & Info
To Johnson Canyon
Lower Galoot Picnic
Upper Galoot Picnic
P e trifie
ash (0.7 0)
H alfw a
Paradise Canyon Trails
Ga p ( 0 .
N a m es
Biking is permitted on West Canyon Road, the Whiptail
Trail, and all Paradise Canyon trails (see inset).
Sand Dunes Picnic
More than 170 designated sport routes are
J e n ny’s Canyon
West Canyon Rd
Online permits required for Arch Canyon and Island
in the Sky traverse.
ny o n
Non-technical climbing permitted at Galoot, Petrified
Dunes, and Whiterocks Areas.
Hidden Pinyon – 1.5 miles. Moderate. Rocky slopes
and deep sand. Drop-offs. This self-guided nature
trail highlights geological features and native plants
of the park.
Jenny’s Canyon – One-half mile. Easy. Level with few
slopes and steps. This great children’s trail leads to
a short, sculpted slot canyon.
Johnson Canyon – Closed annually from March 15
to September 14 – 2 miles. Easy. Level with some
rocky slopes and steps. Leads to a sheltered canyon
of willow and cottonwood, winding through lava
flows and red rock to an arch spanning 200 feet.
To Paradise Canyon
(see upper left map)
To St. George
Cinder Cone Trail – 1.5 miles. Difficult. Steep slopes,
loose uneven surfaces. Located one mile north of
Snow Canyon Drive/State Route 18 junction. Hike
among “lava clinkers” as you corkscrew 500 feet to
the top of an extinct volcano where you can view a
volcano crater and panoramic scenery.
To St. George
Distances are roundtrip.
Butterfly Trail – 2 miles. Moderate. Some steep
slopes, steps and uneven surfaces. Winding along
the west side of Petrified Dunes, this trail leads to
West Canyon Overlook and lava tubes.
0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
Permitted in designated areas. See a ranger for
map of trails.
C a ve
NAD 1983 UTM Zone 12N Transverse Mercator Projection
Lava Flow Trail – 2.5 miles. Moderate. Uneven surfaces.
Hike through a jumbled lava field, the vivid remains of a
long-ago volcanic eruption.
Petrified Dunes – 1.2 miles. Moderate. Some steep slopes,
uneven surfaces. This route crosses massive Navajo
sandstone outcrops and sand dunes frozen in time.
Pioneer Names – One-half mile. Easy. Fairly level with some
steps and slopes. This crescent-shaped trail passes pioneer
names, written in axle grease, dating back to 1881.
Sand Dunes – One-half mile. Easy. Deep sand with some
slopes. Trail leads to a large expanse of red sand serving
as a giant sandbox and play area for children of all ages.
Red Sands – 3.5 miles. Difficult. Deep sand and rocky
slopes. Trail shares early sections with Hidden Pinyon
then branches off following a sandy wash bottom through
400ft cliffs of red and white blended sandstone.
West Canyon Road – 8 miles. Easy. Gravel and sand
surface. Fairly level. Trail follows a maintenance road
winding past dry washes and towering cliffs to the head
of present-day Snow Canyon.
Whiptail Trail – 6 miles. Easy. Level with some slopes.
Accessible to people with disabilities. Tucked along the
canyon bottom, this paved trail is suitable for walking,
jogging, and biking.
Whiterocks Trail/Whiterocks Amphitheater - 4 miles.
Moderate. Some rocky slopes, uneven surfaces. Trail
leads to a natural sandstone amphitheater, passing
through the red, white and black geologic colors of the
park. Or reach the amphitheater on a one-mile trail
located one-half mile north of the Snow Canyon Drive/
State Route 18 junction.
For information on additional trails leading into
Paradise Canyon and other park areas, please
see a park ranger.
Know Before You Go
w Hike on designated trails only.
w Park in designated areas only.
w Dogs permitted on West Canyon Road,
Whiptail Trail, and all Paradise Canyon
trails (see inset). Dogs must be leashed
at all times.
w Some park areas are closed seasonally.
Please obey all posted closures.
w Pack It In – Pack More Of It Out.
w PROHIBITED: Skateboards, Rollerblades,
Scooters, and Drones