Snow Canyon State Park: Lava Tubes And Pioneer Names

Snow Canyon State Park in Southern Utah is the perfect little day getaway from St. George.  It’s a great way to spend a day out hiking while avoiding the crowds in nearby Zion National Park.  It’s almost like a mini Zion.  Don’t go in expecting huge, towering canyons like Zion, but it’s similar.  Just much smaller.


We started by driving the whole scenic road.  Don’t be fooled, it’s not very long so this can be done fairly quickly.  We turned around and made a stop at the Pioneer Names trail.  This is a super short, super easy trail leading to a little alcove that you can scramble up to to see the names of pioneers that came through here way back in the day.  It’s almost like a little Pioneer Register.


Next up was an actual hike and we decided on the Butterfly Trail because that happened to be where we stopped first.  The trail wasn’t too long, only a couple miles, but we didn’t really know where we were going, or end up following that trail.


Eventually, we switched over to the Lava Trail to see the lava tubes.  After first hearing about these, I’ve wanted to see them.  Finally, I had a chance to!  We only went to one, but it was pretty cool.  It was like a lava cave.  We didn’t go too far back into it since we didn’t have lights or really know anything about it, but even just what we saw was cool.


Once we were done there, we headed back out and ended up going down some other trail to meet up with the dirt road at the bottom of the canyon.  After the lava tube, there is a T in the trail.  Left is to the canyon overlook, right is into the canyon, we went right.  We walked along the road a bit, climbed some rocks, got some sand in our eyes, and walked along the road a bit more.


Eventually, we came across a little building and a small, what looked like a, trail, and followed that back out of the canyon since we didn’t know where the road led or how else to get out without retracing all of our steps.  Someone else had already forged the path for us, so we just followed their tracks and came out almost at the top of the Butterfly trail where we started.


Overall, I really liked this park.  It’s definitely one of the best state parks I’ve seen in Utah so far, Goblin Valley is my favorite.  If you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend making a stop here whether it’s for a full day or just a few hours, there is plenty to do and the crowds are much more manageable than in Zion, at least in the winter.

Tips for visiting Snow Canyon:

  • Try to make it to the lava tubes if you can.  You can get there on the Butterfly Trail or from the Lava Trail.
  • Like anywhere in the desert, it can get pretty windy, so watch out for sand in your eyes.  I got some in one of mine and I could barely open it for a few minutes, then it just kind of hurt for a while.
  • This is a pretty small park, so you can pretty easily see most of it in a day.
  • It does have 20 miles of trails though, so you could just as easily spend two or three days exploring.
  • The entrance fee is $6 (February 2018) and you just pay in an envelope at the entrance.
  • If you enjoy rock climbing, you can do that here!  We saw people doing it by the Pioneer Names trail.  You can see exactly where in the first picture, but I’m not sure if you can see the people.
  • The weather is perfect here in the winter, so if you can go then, you should.

Have you been to Snow Canyon?  What did you do there?  What was your favorite part about it?  Do you have a favorite Utah state park?

Tips for hiking in Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, UtahTips for hiking in Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, Utah

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