Southern Utah – St. George and Snow Canyon

Over Thanksgiving, we traveled to Southern Utah to visit family who had recently moved to St. George. The trip was great in the new RV, and the Liquid Springs smoothed the road out for us. We drove to Barstow the first night and stayed at the KOA overnight, and then made it to St. George the next day.

The Big Blue Box in St. George UT!

We stayed at Southern Utah RV Resort, a very nice park with views of the surrounding mountains

It was our first time to visit Utah for pleasure, and we were amazed at the natural beauty of the area.

Snow Canyon State Park

Our first excursion was to Snow Canyon State Park. It was just a few miles away, but it felt like you were transported to another world and another time.

Entrance to Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Snow Canyon is filled with trails and bike paths that lead you into the park so you can explore all you want.

Sand Dunes Picnic Area, Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

At every turn, the views get more beautiful. Plan extra time for lots of photo opportunities!

We stopped at a trail leading to “Pioneer Names”. We didn’t know what it was, but as we got closer, it became clear.

Pioneer Names Picnic Area, Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Pioneer graffiti! 🙂 It was great to see the early pioneers record their first visit to Snow Canyon using axle grease to write their names and dates, some as far back as 1881! Somehow seeing the names on the wall connected me a little better to their adventure. How different it must have been for them.

Pioneer Names from 1881

The view from there, however, are just the same!

Looking back towards Whiptail, Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

This mountain is also used by many rock climbers to hone their skills.

Climbers at Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

We chose an easier version. As you can see the “petrified sand dunes”, created some 183 million years ago, made a nearly perfect staircase for us to explore the area.

Petrified Dunes at Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Our next hike would lead us around this beautiful hill made from orange Navajo Sandstone.

Looking the other direction did not disappoint either! With the sun starting to set, we had a gorgeous view of the canyon!

Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

We meandered our way to the top of the canyon, making many stops for short hikes, and then made a U-turn enjoy it all again going the other direction. If you are in the area, you will be well rewarded for taking the time to see Snow Canyon.

Here’s a video of our drive back down the canyon.

Downtown St. George

We also spent lots of time in the town of St. George. We were surprised to see a “D” on the mountain instead of an “S” or “G”. However, the area is historically named Utah’s Dixie. In 1851 Brigham Young sent Mormon Settlers to the St George area. Many of these settlers were from the deep south (southeastern United States). Since the St. George area was warm like the deep south, they started calling it Utah’s “Dixie”.

St. George, Utah‘s Dixie

They have a beautiful town square, with many museums and restaurants.

St. George Town Square

We enjoyed the public art sprinkled all over the downtown area.

There were several bison statues around town. This one had a painting of the town square.

After enjoying a brief respite with this gentleman,

we had lunch at the Bear Paw Cafe, just across the street. It was delicious and we’ll be back for the cozy atmosphere and great food.

After lunch, we drove by the Mormon Temple, which is a beautiful building. There is a visitor’s center just to the left of it, but we’ll have to save that for another time.

Mormon Temple, St. George UT

Red Hills Desert Garden and Pioneer Park

Next, we visited the Red Hills Desert Garden, just outside and above the downtown area. This is a unique botanical garden, that helps you appreciate the natural landscape here. It includes native plants, a slot canyon featuring native fish, and prehistoric dinosaur tracks!

Map of Red Hills Desert Garden, St. George UT

Walking through the park was interesting and the exhibits were beautiful.

A real plus we’re the dinosaur tracks. This area was a sub-tropical oasis and lake during the Jurassic period. These tracks are called “swim tracks”, and were created as toes scraped in the mud when dinosaurs moved on the lake’s shallow shoreline. Interesting!

Next door is Pioneer Park, a great place for a picnic and hike.

Pioneer Park, St. George UT

I would have loved to visit here as a kid and scramble all over these rocks.

Also in Pioneer Park is a small slot canyon. the sun was just right for us to get some beautiful photos here.

Slot canyon at Pioneer Park, St. George UT

Above the slot canyon sits an arch overlooking the area.

And from that vantage point, you have a great view of St. George. it is easy to see why so many people love this place.

Town of St. George from above Pioneer Park

The warmer climate (than the rest of Utah) attracted Debbie’s sister and husband here. Mike and Sandy are both are both extremely talented at multiple crafts. Sandy does a lot of sewing, and Mike works with wood. He has made countless bowls, cutting boards, pens, etc. that he just gives away to others who appreciate it.

While visiting, Mike invited me to make a pen. Even though I had zero experience, he coached me through the wood turning process.

I’m pretty happy with the final result!

Mike has many kinds of pens already made, but it was cool being able to make my own in his wood shop.

Next, we took a couple trips to Zion National Park! It was amazing each time, but I’ll have to save that for the next post, as this is already quite long!

Al & Deb

Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

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