Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon is named after early Mormon settlers Lorenzo and Erastus Snow. Designated as a Utah State Park in 1958, Snow Canyon is a 7,400-acre scenic park tucked amongst lava flows and sandstone cliffs in a colorful and fragile desert environment. Just one look at the amazing views and the mixture of light, shadow, and color moving along the walls of the canyon and you will understand why Snow Canyon State Park is such a highly sought after destination for visitors.

A paved two-lane road enters the park from Ivins , goes up the canyon a ways, then eventually  makes its way up the eastern edge to the bench above Snow Canyon. As the road climbs out of the canyon you’ll notice the ancient lava flows that spill over the eastern edges of Snow Canyon from above. However, I personally recommend entering the state park from the top of the canyon off Highway 18.  As you drop in the canyon you have a beautiful overhead view of the entire canyon and can see the contrast of the deep blue sky over the dark red cliffs as they connect to the white rock mountains rising above the black rock lava flow from the nearby ancient volcanoes.  The lava flows are now spotted with green sage and desert plants that really set off the entire view in the springtime.  It's truly beautiful.


Snow Canyon State Park has something for outdoor enthusiasts of any age. You may choose to be educated with a ranger talk or participate in the junior ranger program. Many enjoy hiking, camping, nature studies, and wildlife viewing. If you prefer to stay on a smoother road, there are more than 18 miles of walking/biking trails. Of course, you also have the opportunity to go horseback riding on over five miles of equestrian trails. You'll find many triathletes training in the canyon as they bike and run up and down the the main road preparing for their race while enjoying the backdrop. At the bottom of the canyon you'll find a fun sand dune which has become a popular place to race eggs down the sand during Easter weekend.

Plants and Animals

Many choose to visit Snow Canyon State Park to view wildlife, study nature, and brush up on their photography skills. Some of the vegetation seen in the state park are creosote bush, narrow leaf yucca, sand sage, black brush, scrub oak and desert willow. In fact, if the conditions are just right in the fall and spring, you might get a glimpse of the beautiful wildflowers that light up the park.

If you prefer Wildlife watching over vegetation, you may see coyotes, kit foxes, quail, roadrunners, leopard lizards, gopher snakes and canyon tree frogs. Thirteen sensitive species protected by state and/or federal law are found within the park. Three of them are actually endangered species; they include Peregrine Falcons, Desert Tortoises and Gila monsters. You can obtain plant and wildlife checklists at the park headquarters for a fee. Removal of plants and wildlife is prohibited.


Because of the gorgeous scenery and the multitude of activities, Snow Canyon State Park is a favorite for camping. The state park contains 35 campsites for tents and RVs below 35 feet (11 m). It is important to note, however, that summers are hot with high temperatures over 105 °F and winters settling between lows in the mid 20 °F to highs in the 60 °F.


Lava Flow Trail - Transverses fields of ancient lava and shows off see some of the stunning features of Snow Canyon State Park. There are a few very deep lava caves that are worth exploring. Sometimes the kids take glow sticks to play hide-and-go-seek.

Pioneer Names - Easy. One-half mile. Fairly level with some steps and slopes. This crescent-shaped trail passes pioneer names written in axle grease, dating back to 1883.

Whiptail Trail - Easy. 6 miles (9.7 km). Level with some slopes. Accessible to physically challenged. Tucked along the canyon bottom, this sinuous paved trail is suitable for hiking, jogging, biking and rollerblading.

Johnson Canyon - Easy. (Open November 15 to March 1 only) - 2 miles (3.2 km). Level with some rocky slopes and steps. Boasting the only riparian area in the park, this trail winds through lava flows and red rock to an arch spanning 200 feet (61 m).

Jenny's Canyon – Easy. (Closed March 31 to June 1) -One-half mile.  level with few slopes and steps. Trail leads to a narrow, sculpted canyon then splits with rock stair steps to offer a scenic overlook.

Sand Dunes - Easy. One-half mile. Deep sand with some slopes. Trail leads to a large expanse of red sand that is an excellent play area for children of all ages.

West Canyon Road - Easy. 7 miles (11 km). Gravel and sand surface. Fairly level. Trail follows a maintenance road winding past washes and towering cliffs to the mouth of present-day Snow Canyon.

Petrified Dunes Trail - Moderate. 1 mile (1.6 km). Some steep slopes, uneven surfaces. This trail crosses massive sandstone outcrops where you may explore sand dunes frozen in time.

White Rocks Trail/Lava Flow Overlook - Moderate. 4 miles (6.4 km).  While Lava Flow Overlook has some rocky slopes and uneven surfaces, it also passes through lava flows, juniper stands and breathtaking views of West Canyon. This trail culminates at a natural amphitheater set in white sandstone. You may also reach the amphitheater on the White Rocks Trail, a 1-mile (1.6 km) trail located one-half mile north of State Route 18 junction.

Hidden Pinyon - Moderate. 1.5 miles (2.4 km). This self-guided nature trail has rocky slopes and drop-offs. Hidden Pinyon also introduces geological features and native plants of the park.

Three Ponds - Moderate. 3.5 miles (5.6 km). With some rocky slopes and deep sand. Three Ponds  Trail winds through sandy washes to the mouth of a 400-foot (120 m) canyon. Potholes eroded in sandstone catch seasonal rain, giving the trail its name.

Butterfly Trail - Moderate. 2 miles (3.2 km). Winding along the west side of Petrified Dunes, this trail leads to West Canyon Overlook and lava tubes. It should be noted that it has some steep slopes, steps and uneven surfaces.

Park Information

Contact Information
Snow Canyon State Park
1002 Snow Canyon Drive
Ivins, UT 84738
435-628-2255 - main park number

Seasons/Open Hours
Year-Round - 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Holiday Closures: None

Lava Tubes/caves