I had so much fun at Valley of the Fire State Park, I decided to roll the dice on another nearby State Park. I crossed from Nevada into Arizona with nearly 1,400 miles on the odometer, and found dispersed camping near the Virgin Gorge.
After a day of chores in St George and with rain in the forecast, I returned to the same campsite as to avoid those slipperier-than-snot-when-wet roads. Sadly the most important chore I’d hoped to accomplish, the replacement of my windshield wiper lever brain, didn’t happen due to the part not being in stock.
With intermittent rain showers, I spent another day doing chores but stopped by Snow Canyon State Park for a map. The white rock in the background (not the reason the park is named snow) captured my attention and I couldn’t help but say WOW! According to Park literature, “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. It’s located in the 62,000-acre Red Cliffs Desert Preserve.” According to the WOW guide, “The canyon’s name honors two Mormon leaders: Erastus Snow and Lorenzo Snow.”
Another night of dispersed camping, this time at Gunlock Reservoir.
The Utah WOW guidebook, had a recommended route starting with the Red Sands Trail.
The Park gets kudos for their excellent signage. At every junction the post included a map with “you are here” clearly indicated as well as reminders about dogs, bikes, and directional text.
I can’t say I was that impressed with the Red Sands Trail. There were views of red sandstone, but mostly it was a red sand slog.
The sand slog ended with this small pool of water from recent rains.
Petrified Dunes was next on the list.
It wasn’t quite what I was expecting as far as petrified wood, but I was now hiking on slickrock which made me a very happy gal.
Soon enough I found myself roaming across the interconnected sandstone.
The white mountains I really wanted to visit seemed oh so far away.
These volcanic debris fields were quite interesting.
After all my wanderings I was beginning to feel a bit cliffed out. How oh how would I get off this slickrock without stepping in any precious biological soil?
I sure was surprised to stumble across this large pool, especially since rain has been fairly elusive this spring.
It’s 5pm and time to go . . . until tomorrow when I’ll need to return for more exploration of that white rock I’m craving.
The next morning I had a slight change of plans after stopping by the Park Visitor Center. A ranger recommended a visit to nearby Red Mountain where I would get a view down into Snow Canyon and where I’d spent the previous day.
The trail is heavily used by horses and begins on an old roadbed with plenty of ankle busting rocks.
Finding survey markers are considered extra credit.
The spur trail was well marked.
Sadly the air quality was bad for photos and the sun was in my face. The geology was amazing and I wish I could have captured better photos.
There was even a little extra credit geology eye candy.
Finally it was back down to Snow Canyon where I needed to wander the white rock mountains. I met this elderly couple who were the cutest ever, so supportive by gently encouraging each other down the trail.
I decided to first visit the amphitheater.
What you don’t see until you zoom in is the kids playground. When you don’t have a beach, this seems to be the next best thing. I wondered why I saw all these families in the parking lot with sand toys. They were using snow sleds to fly down the hill. So fun and even though I’m typically LNT, I’m really okay with this little slice or paradise.
Then it was time for more slickrock walking. The views were spectacular.
Ran into this cutest ever family, with the young girls all decked out in colorful gaiters and hats.
Loved this sign. Yes, turtles are worth saving.
- Snow Canyon State Park
- Nice reminder of their LNT philosophy
- If you find trash, do your part and carry it out. This was from my dispersed campsite. One beer even appeared unopened.
- Be aware and knowledgeable of biological soil.