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Snow Canyon Loop

The Snow Canyon Loop Trail is a paved double-track bike, hiking, and rollerblading trail that loops through Snow Canyon from the outskirts of St. George. Although the trail is smooth and paved, there are some steep spots that will spook (or injure) youngsters who are just learning to ride. 

View down the trail, showing the beautiful formations of Navajo sandstone. July 9, 2001. Photos by Bruce Argyle.

If you ride the entire loop, including the section of highway at the top of Snow Canyon, you'll travel 18 miles and climb 1050 vertical feet. Peak altitude is 3960 feet. The section along the Veyo highway (the continuation of Bluff Street) has rollers with some very steep pitches if you're riding counter-clockwise northbound. With a stand-and-grunt, it's possible to ride these on a double-ring road bike, but beginners will need to walk some spots.

Mike saddles up with Kelsey and Alexandra in the trailer, while Samantha is ready to hit the trail. July 13, 2001

Between the top of Snow Canyon and the picnic area trailhead, there's a mile of missing trail (we presume this will be added soon). This is the only spot in the 18 miles where you'll be competing with cars. This section is also a stiffer climb if you're riding clockwise.

Moonflower (southwestern thornapple) blossoms after a rainstorm.

 

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

 

The loop is really a triangle: one side is the path from St. George up to the top of the Canyon. This route is fairly straight, but rolls up and down, with some steeper spots that might be hard for little tykes and skaters on rollerblades. (Rollerblading the entire loop should be considered "extreme sport" -- tough and dangerous.)

Looking up the mesa, we're about a mile from where the trail turns to go down Snow Canyon.

 

The sandstone of Snow Canyon is famous. Red and white Navajo sandstone creates formations that rival anything you'll see in Utah's national parks. While in the canyon, you can also take your bike up the gravel West Canyon Trail.

View up the canyon, near the West Canyon Trailhead.

For a shorter and very easy ride, we recommend you ride up Snow Canyon from the bottom, have lunch at the picnic area where the trail ends at Galoot Hill, then cruise back down. The scenery in Snow Canyon is awesome, whatever way you ride it.

All of the route is attractive. For example, this is the route alongside Snow Canyon Drive near Ivins. You wouldn't know it from this photo, but you're only a few hundred feet from ballparks and homes.

Here's a panoramic view of the canyon, from the Snow Canyon Overlook, just off the paved trail on the St. George to canyon-top leg.

In Snow Canyon, there are a lot of short trails with plenty of southern Utah's unique Navajo sandstone. Kids LOVE Snow Canyon.

"Big kids" can try the established rock-climbing routes near the bottom of the canyon.

The canyon is a few degrees cooler than St. George, so you can have fun there even when the city is hot. On the bike trails, there's often a breeze to keep you cooler.

Kristen investigates the red rock of Snow Canyon.

Getting there:

Heading south, take the Bluff Street exit in St. George. Turn right onto Bluff Street. Keep going straight until Bluff Street starts to leave the city (although the city is rapidly growing out in this direction). You can park here (see the trail  the right side of the road?) and ride to the loop, or drive on to another parking area on the loop.

Top of Snow Canyon: Keep driving straight out of town on Highway 18. When the road turns left into snow canyon, park at the small lot on the south side of the road. Take the road down 1.5 mile to mile marker 11 -- the paved trail begins on your right, across the street from a parking/picnic area on your left. This trailhead GPS is N 37 12.794' W 113 38.896', altitude 3500 ft.

Snow Canyon Drive: When Bluff Street becomes Highway 18 towards Snow Canyon and Veyo, watch for the intersection with Snow Canyon Parkway about a mile later. Turn left onto Snow Canyon Drive. You'll see the trail on the right. Continue until you reach a parking area 2 miles later at GPS N 37 08.968' W 113 37.634', altitude 2900 ft.

Riding resources:
One-page riding guide

Lodging, camping, shops:
   Links to St. George area resources

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc