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Snow Canyon State Park is a small but incredibly beautiful state park in Utah that’s often overlooked due to its close proximity to Zion National Park. In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about visiting Snow Canyon – because it’s definitely worth the visit!
This post will cover:
- park entrance fees and hours
- how to get to Snow Canyon State Park
- the best time to visit
- hiking in Snow Canyon
- camping in Snow Canyon
- other things to do in the park
- possible trip itineraries
Basic Park Information
6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Day Use Fees:
- The day use fee is $10 per vehicle (up to eight people).
- If you’re a senior 62 or older and a Utah resident with a valid drivers license, the cost is $5 per vehicle (up to eight people).
- If you want to walk or bike into the park, the cost is $5 per pedestrian/cyclist.
- For commercial use or vehicles with nine or more people, the cost is $3 per person.
- by phone: 435-628-2255
- by address: 1002 N. Snow Canyon Rd, Ivins, UT 84738
Where is Snow Canyon State Park?
Snow Canyon State Park is located in Southwest Utah near the city of St. George. The canyon is about 11 miles northwest of St. George.
If driving, it’s about 4.5 hours from Salt Lake City and 2 hours from Las Vegas.
Best Time to Visit Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park is great all year long!
In the Summer months, the park gets very hot, and in the winter months, nightly temperatures can dip below freezing. See average temperatures below.
I think the best time to visit Snow Canyon State Park is in the Spring and Fall months. The weather is fantastic for camping and hiking, and there are fewer crowds than in the Summer months.
I’ve been to the park in the winter too and it was great! The weather was nice for hiking, and if you bring lots of blankets, the camping wasn’t too cold either.
If you really want to avoid the crowds, the Winter is the time to go. We hardly saw anyone else while we were hiking.
If you want to do a lot of hiking, keep in mind that the Summer months will be very hot. I’ve hiked around St. George in the Summer and it can get difficult in the heat with almost no shade available on the trails.
In addition, the Summer months can get crowded at the park, and there’s very limited parking at the trailheads and overlooks.
If you do visit in the Summer, it’s best to get an early start to beat the heat and the crowds!
Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon is a hikers park! The park contains over 20 miles of trails through sand dunes, petrified dunes, lava tubes, and up to panoramic viewpoints of stunning red and white rocks.
It’s definitely a fun and unique place to hike.
Below are some of the most popular hiking trails in Snow Canyon.
1) Lava Flow Overlook Trail
- Distance: 2.3 miles round trip
- Hike Type: Out & Back
About the Hike: This is the most popular trail in the park! It’s an easy hike over packed dirt and rocks leading to a beautiful viewpoint of petrified dunes and the canyon.
Along the way, there are two lava tubes that you can hike into. Bring a headlamp!
The first lava tube is a steep decent. Make sure to watch small children here because this lava tube is basically a huge hole in the Earth!
The second lava tube you encounter is much easier to enter. (It is pictured above.)
There are a lot of intersecting trails in this area, however, there are plenty of signs marking the way.
2) Petrified Dunes Trail
- Distance: about 1.2 miles round trip
- Hike Type: Out & Back
About the Hike: Hike over huge petrifies sand dunes! The trail goes up through the petrified dunes with beautiful views all around and then connects at the junction to the Three Ponds Trail close to the Hidden Pinyon Overlook. This is an easy trail over uneven rock surfaces.
3) Hidden Pinyon Trail
- Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
- Hike Type: Out & Back with optional looped section.
About the Hike: This is a short hike that takes visitors into the rocks below the petrified dunes and to the Hidden Pinyon Overlook.
4) Johnson Canyon Trail
- Distance: 2 miles round trip
- Hike Type: Out & Back
- Note: This trail is closed annually from March 15th to September 14th.
About the Hike: This trail is an easy almost flat hike leading to the Johnson Canyon Arch which is one of the largest in the area with a 200 ft span.
Other Hikes in the Park
Below are the other trails in the park that you might want to consider:
- Butterfly Trail
- Cinder Cone Trail
- Jenny’s Canyon Trail
- Pioneer Names Trail
- Three Ponds Trail
- West Canyon Road
- Whiptail Trail
- White Rocks Trail
- Scout Cave Trail
There are even more amazing hikes in St. George.
Rest assured that whatever trails you hike, they’re going to be beautiful!
Snow Canyon State Park Hiking Map:
You can get a map of the park at the visitors center by the campground, however, I also recommend that you have some way to navigate other than the state park map provided.
The state park map isn’t really designed for navigation, so it’s not that detailed.
Camping in Snow Canyon State Park
- There’s one campground within Snow Canyon State Park.
- The campground is open year-round!
- The campground has 14 RV sites with water and electrical hook-ups and 17 multi-use campsites.
- Pets are allowed at the campground.
This is one of my favorite little campgrounds in a Utah state or national park. It has a beautiful backdrop of huge red and white sandstone cliffs and plenty of amenities.
While the RV sites did look very close together, the 17 other campsites were nicely spaced and offered some privacy.
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The campground amenities include: restrooms, drinking water, a dump station, fire pits, grills, tables, hot showers, and more.
How to Make a Campground Reservation
About half of the campsites are non-reservable sites, meaning they’re available on a first-come, first serve basis.
The remaining campsites are reservable online up to four months in advance.
If you can, I definitely recommend making a reservation.
Campsite reservations can be made through the online reservation system here.
I will walk you though the process below.
1) Choose the “Campground Map” tab
Familiarize yourself with the campground site locations. I stayed at campsite 25 and it was perfect – lots of space and great views!
If you need more information about each site and the amenities available, click on the “Campsite List” tab. Once you have a campsite in mind that fits your needs, it’s time to reserve it.
2) Choose the “Date Range Availability” tab
You’ll see a list of all the campsites and the dates that they are available. Choose the available days that you want to reserve.
3) Choose “Book these Dates”
Then, you’ll be taken to a sign-in page where you can review your reservation and pay for the campsite!
- For a standard non-hookup campsite, the price is $20 per night.
- Hookup sites are $25 per night.
Other Things to do in Snow Canyon State Park
There’s so much more to do in Snow Canyon State Park than just hiking and camping!
1) Playing in the Sand Dunes
The park’s sand dunes are just off the main road and the perfect place to bring a family. The walk to the sand dunes is very easy and the sand is such a beautiful red color. I took my shoes off and ran up and down the dunes – it was so much fun!
2) Road Biking
Snow Canyon is a very popular place for road bikers. It’s hard to find better road biking views than the ones along Snow Canyon Drive.
3) Rock Climbing
There are numerous bolted routes throughout the canyon. Check here for more information about rock climbing in Snow Canyon.
4) Snow Canyon Events
Check here for the latest list of events in Snow Canyon. The park regularly hosts, moonlit hikes, star walks, ask a geologist classes, sunset hikes, and more!
Possible Trip Itinerary
Below are some possible trip itineraries for your visit.
If you have 1 day:
Drive the entire scenic Snow Canyon Drive stopping at overlooks. I would start at the North entrance.
Along the way, stop to hike the Lava Flow Overlook Trail. Bring a headlamp and explore the lava tubes on the hike.
Continue driving along the scenic drive and stop at the sand dunes before you leave the park.
If you have 2 days:
Make a reservation to stay 1 night at the Snow Canyon Campground.
On the day you arrive, enjoy the drive through the park to the campground to set up your campsite.
Go for a hike on the Lava Flow Overlook Trail to see beautiful views of petrified dunes and the canyon. Bring a headlamp to explore the lava tubes! That night, enjoy sunset from one of the viewpoints in the park.
The next morning, hike the Petrified Dunes trail and/or the Hidden Pinyon Trail. Return to camp for some lunch. Pack up your camp and on your way out of the park, stop by the Sand Dunes to run around and enjoy the soft red sand.
Plan your Snow Canyon trip!
Snow Canyon State park is packed with spectacular views and cant-miss hikes. I cannot wait to go back and explore more.
If you want to get a feel for what it’s like in the park, below is a short video from my last trip to Snow Canyon. Enjoy!
If you have any questions about the park as you’re planning your visit, ask me in the comments below. I’m here to help!