Camping and Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

It is only one week until the St. George Ironman 70.3, a race I enthusiastically signed up for 5 months ago, when it was snowing outside and the thought of actually training for it was hidden behind Christmas vacation and general holiday busyness.

But we are headed down to Snow Canyon for a weekend of camping, climbing and one last weekend scoping the course I will be racing in 6 days. Eek!

The weather, unfortunately, isn’t working for us. We have head winds all the way down and a forecast of rain starting the next day. This is one of those times I am so thankful for a camper!

We find our way a mile or two up Snow Canyon, to a cute campground settled cozily on the east side of the road. While some sites are packed together, our friends have reserved the huge group site. We have heated bathrooms and even warm showers! This is definitely glamping in my opinion, but with rain and a race staring me in the face, I am loving it.

Climbing
Climbing Circus Wall, Snow Canyon State Park, UT

Climbing Circus Wall, Snow Canyon State Park, UT

Our goal for this trip was a lot of climbing. We head down to Circus Wall (part of the Island in the Sky formation), only a 10-15 minute walk from camp.

This is an amazing climbing crag to involve kids and beginners. While most routes are sport, there is also a few mixed and trad routes. We set up ropes on Pygmy Alien 5.7, Roar Of the Greasepaint (5.10a), and the first pitch of Barbarian 5.6 trad. No one else was there!

kid rock climbing, snow canyon

We had a great time and the kids enjoyed working the starting moves on Pygmy Alien and Roar Of the Greasepaint.

Circus Wall, Roar of the Greasepaint, 5.10a

Circus Wall, Roar of the Greasepaint, 5.10a

We found a great place to set up snacks and hangout at the base of Circus Wall.

We found a great place to set up snacks and hangout at the base of Circus Wall.

Hanging out at Circus Wall, kid friendly crags Getting ready to climb, Snow Canyon

Soon clouds start to build and spit rain at us. Kids start to melt down out of exhaustion and hunger. It is time to head back to camp.

Unfortunately, the rain socks in. We build a fire, we let the kids get really muddy, we stick a rope swing up in one of the trees.

Hikes

The next day the weather does not break. Luckily, there are lava tubes to explore, a perfect rainy day adventure!

Getting ready to hike to the lava tubes.

Getting ready to hike to the lava tubes.

Many other people have the same idea, but that is ok. We hike roughly .5 miles to the entrance of the lava tubes. At first the “gaping holes” look impossible to negotiate with kids. But they aren’t.

Looking down into one of the lava tube openings.

Looking down into one of the lava tube openings.

With a little help for the youngest ones, we make our way below ground and explore the caves! Many of the local teenagers have trashed the caves with glow sticks. A little annoyed, we spend much time picking up trash and wrappers.

But our kids did love seeing glowing glitter all over in the darkness…

Bring your headlamps!

Bring your headlamps!

Exploring the Lava Tubes, Snow Canyon

Exploring the Lava Tubes, Snow Canyon

It rains and rains. In fact, it rains so much, climbing is out for the remainder of the weekend. 🙁 We pass time at camp. My friend Kelly and I head out to Sand Hollow Reservoir for a swim… hey, if we are wet anyways, we might as well get a swim in!

We pass more time at camp, not really our style. But the kids had a blast. And a lot of bacon was eaten!

Campfire cooking Camping in Snow Canyon

Camping in rain can be fun too!

Camping in rain can be fun too!

After two days in the rain, we are all sort of sick of it. Luckily, St. George is only 10-20 minutes away. We ditch cooking dinner in a downpour in favor of a warm and dry dinner out in town!

One Last Hike

The next day the weather breaks but we have to head home before any of the rock will dry. We opt for a hike on the Petrified Sand Dunes. This hike is perfect for stretching your legs and just letting the kids explore.

Hiking on the slick rock and scrambling around.

Hiking on the slick rock and scrambling around.

Hiking in Snow Canyon, Petrified Sand Dunes

Hiking in Snow Canyon, Petrified Sand Dunes

Playing on the rocks, hiking kid style!

Playing on the rocks, hiking kid style!

Petrified Sand Dunes trail, Snow Canyon State Park

Petrified Sand Dunes trail, Snow Canyon State Park

Directions:

From I-15 Northbound:
Take exit 6 (Bluff Street). Go north on Bluff Street to the intersection with Snow Canyon Parkway. Turn left onto Snow Canyon Parkway and proceed approximately 3.5 miles and turn right onto Snow Canyon Drive. Follow this road to the south entrance of the park.

From I-15 Southbound:
Take exit 10 (Washington). Turn right off the ramp then an immediate left at the light. Follow this road for approximately 5 miles to the intersection with Bluff Street/ SR-18. Proceed through the light and continue on Snow Canyon Parkway for approximately 3.5 miles and turn right onto Snow Canyon Drive. Follow this road to the south entrance of the park.

For more info: http://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/snow-canyon/

One comment on “Camping and Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah
  1. We were in the park at the same time! Our family went on a last minute whim and stayed at the Quail Creek campground but we are aiming for Snow Canyon next time we go. The campground seems to book really early and we saw a lot of angry RV people complaining about their spaces- I do wish they would expand the tent sites a bit because this place is simply gorgeous.

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